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West Coast Night in Vancouver


									                                                                  May 2009

                     CHIEF K’UUNA       CHN                  ART &
                     LLNAGAAY –         QUARTERLY            EDUCATION
                     NIIS WES           REPORT               page 15
                     page 3             page 7

Newsletter of the Haida Nation                                MAY 2009

                                                 West Coast Night
                                                    in Vancouver
                                                             page 11

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

                                                “     Kilslaay is the highest regard that
                                                      you give to a man... not necessarily
                                                      a Chief, but a man you respect.
     HAIDA LAAS                                       Furthermore, a Chief should not act

               published by the                       like a bigshot because everyone
   Council of the Haida Nation                        knows who we are and when you go
              Managing Editor
               Simon Davies                           to the mainland, you don’t go around
                   Writers                            telling people that you are a Chief
        Florence Lockyer - Old Massett
                                                      because if you are any kind of a

         Kwiaahwah Jones - Skidegate

                      Chief, people should already know.

   Council of the Haida Nation                         Niis Wes
            Box 589, Old Massett
                  Haida Gwaii
                                                       November 2008
                   V0T 1M0

   Council of the Haida Nation
          Box 98, Queen Charlotte
                Haida Gwaii
                  V0T 1S0

                                                                  In Remembrance
                                                        Old Massett                             Skidegate
                   MAY 09                                   Edgar Sills                        Mona Edenshaw
                                                           Katie Atkins                     Edward “Scum” Brown                                        Sharon Hitchcock             Chief K’uuna Llnagaay - Niis Wes
     program reports : haida laas                          Matty Edgars
    links : diplomacy : agreements
      government : working groups

       - it’s all good -                      COVER: Shark being danced at the Haida-hosted West Coast Night.
                                              Photo: Kwiaahwah Jones

                                                                                                          May 2009

                        Niis Wes, Giidansta of K’uuna Llnagaay
                                     Chief Skedans
                                       [ February 14, 1913 – May 3, 2009 ]

Niis Wes was born in Skidegate, February 14,
1913 to Isaac and Sarah (Jaadskwan) Wilson
and quietly left this world surrounded by his
children, nieces, nephews and friends, May 3,
2009 at Queen Charlotte City.

He was predeceased by his parents Isaac
Wilson and Sarah Wilson-Jones-Pryce and his
second dad, James “Jimmie” Jones and his
first wife, Mary Louise Wesley-Wilson-White
and second wife Peggy Adams-Brown-Wilson.
Children: Lawrence Charles, Melvin Fredrick
and one son, stillborn. Stepson Willie. Brothers
and sisters; Chief Skedans, James (Lydia)
Wilson; Alex (Julia) Wilson; Cecil Wilson;
Minnie (William) Croft; Elizabeth (Ambrose)
Collinson; Clarence Swede (Nancy) Jones;
Mabel (Godfrey) Williams.

He is survived by his siblings: Roy Jones
(Grace); Norman Pryce; Rita Hutchingson;
Dolores Davis and sister-in-law, Virginia. He is
survived by his children: Barbara Joan, Ronald
Ernest, Harold Owen (Debbie); stepchildren
Edith (Pat), Hazel, Doris, Karen (Kent),
Marjean (Steve), Charlie (Bev), Lawrence

                                                                                                                 Photo: Bussy McGuire
(Karen), Bruce (Roberta), Ron “Moe” (Nora)
and as well as numerous grand children, great
grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

His grandchildren, Jason (Jodi) Wilson, Barry
Roy, Sue Heal and Carol Peckham (Steve)                    In 1918 his father Isaac, died of influenza. Niis
were unable to attend. Craig Smith, Mitchell               Wes spoke of how attached he was to his father,
and Lawrence Wilson, and Paul Rosang were in               and how he slept with his dad for two nights
attendance). His grandchildren were a special              after his death. His family lived seasonally in the
part of his world.                                         region of Moresby Camp and Hlkinul Llnagaay
                                                           (Cumshewa Village) and also spent time in K’iid
He lived in the community of Skidegate until the           (Burnaby Narrows) where they harvested seafood,
age of 11, when he was sent to                             trapped and fished to sustain the family. Some of
Coqualeetza Indian Residential School where he             his memories were of fishing with a weir with his
remained until the age of 16. His nickname while           naanaay, Giidaahlgudsliiay (Susan Young Williams).
there was Anast. Niis Wes had many stories of his          They all learned about living as stewards of the
early years and life prior to attending Coqualeetza.       land during these formative years.

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

     Niis Wes recalled going out when he was nine             At the age of 11, he was sent, along with his
     years old for his first naaw (octopus) in Cumshewa       brothers and sisters of Sarah’s first family, to
     Inlet with his two younger brothers, Alex and            attend Coqualeetza Indian Residential School.
     Cecil. With a smile on his face, he spoke of the         They traveled on the Prince John without their
     cold, of towing an octopus on the end of the             parents to the lower mainland. Because money
     naawdang stick, carrying Cecil on his back and           was so scarce in his family he was only able to
     holding Alex’s hand and                                                            return home once during
     how his two younger                                                                all the years he attended
     brothers were cold and                                                             residential school.
     crying. In the same year
     he also remembered                                                                When he was 21 years
     catching his first salmon                                                         old, his father, Jimmy built
     and having to row                                                                 him a troller named the
     ashore and pull the fish                                                          Joker. Niis Wes said his
     hand over hand to land                                                            father Jimmy built it for
     it on shore.                                                                      him in payment for all the
                                                                                       years he helped to look
     Niis Wes’ memories of                                                             after his younger brothers
     being a teenager and                                                              and sisters by food
     a young man are rich                                                              gathering and getting
     with stories of fishing                                                           wood. Prior to this, Niis
     and rowing for hours                                                              Wes ran a seiner for a
     in all kinds of weather.                                                          short while. He had the
     Many of the stories left                                                          Joker until approximately
     him wondering how he                                                              1958, when it was
     survived more than a few                                                          lost in a storm. In the
     near fatal incidents. He                                                          winters he would work in
     spent his teenage years                                                           logging camps and in the
     hunting, fishing and                                                              summers ran his boat.
     trapping on the land and
     ocean with his second                                                              Niis Wes married
     dad, Jimmy Jones, his                                                              GwaaGanad (Mary
     brothers, his chini Chief Gid Kun (old Johnny            Louise Wesley) of the St’aawaas Xaaydaagaay in
     Williams), Raymond Cross, Walter Russ, Chief             1940. Niis Wes lived in Skidegate at the time, and
     Charlie Wesley, Chief Nathan Young and                   GwaaGanad lived in Sandspit so he would row
     Walter Stevens.                                          to Sandspit to court her. They were married in
                                                              Skidegate by Mr. Affleck.
     One of his recollections was of rowing from K’iid
     (Burnaby Narrows) to Carpenter Bay with his              During the Second World War, he along with
     chini Gid Kun to set traps and on the return trip        other Haida men served as members of the Coast
     gathering the fur bearing animals. One winter he         Rangers and helped to situate the look-out station
     went trapping with his father Jimmy Jones and his        on Marble Island—life was never boring.
     brother Alex down south. They trapped on the
     west coast, and dragged the seine skiff over land        Their family was made up of one daughter and
     through the snow to GawGa.ya. While there, their         five sons. As a young father and husband, he spent
     father got very sick, so Niis Wes and Alex carried       much of his time in logging camps, trapping, or
     him back to where the boat was anchored on the           out fishing. It was a difficult time for the young
     east coast, then Niis Wes returned to the west           family and money was not plentiful. Family life in
     coast to get the smaller boat and lug it back.           the village was full of get-togethers and memories.
                                                              Many are still spoken about amongst the many

                                                                                                            May 2009

cousins. We all remember the singing and                   Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Her
dancing, and the barrel and home-brew they so              Imperial Highness Princess Hisako Takamado of
enjoyed making, bottling and drinking.                     Japan who he escorted to K’uuna Llnagaay. He
                                                           also hosted a dinner for Her Imperial Highness in
Niis Wes has been involved with the Native                 Skidegate. Niis Wes enjoyed telling stories of the
Brotherhood, and served on the executive in                village and his family to all.
Skidegate when his children were very young. He
also worked to bring movies into the community             After he retired from the boom grounds at South
hall each week. In addition to this he held the            Bay, he and Peggy travelled to Vancouver and
position of treasurer of the Sons of Skidegate             other parts of the province, most often by car.
Athletic Association for a number of years.                Peggy passed away in August of 1996. In 2001,
                                                           Niis Wes, Gaahlaay (Watson Pryce) and Gid
Niis Wes and GwaaGanad divorced in 1964.                   Kun (Reverend John Williams) and the late Ada
                                                           Yovanovich graduated from Grade 12. At the time
In 1972 when Craig was born, Chini would walk              of their graduation, Gaahlaay and Niis Wes were
up to Barb and Lorne’s home in Skidegate Landing           the oldest men in the world, to graduate from
each day after work to visit his grandchild. Later,        Grade 12.
in 1997 when Craig’s daughter Emily, was born in
Quesnel, Chini caught the ferry and then the bus           Although he had arthritis in his fingers, Niis
to go and visit and hold, his great-grandchild for a       Wes enjoyed fishing on the west coast with his
few days and returned once more to Haida Gwaii.            youngest son, Harold. On other occasions, one of
                                                           his many friends would take him fishing either in
The late Gid Kun (Nathan Young) and Niis Wes               the inlet or on the west coast. He could be found
were friends for most of their lives. They worked          any day of the week getting his gear ready—just in
together on the boom at South Bay. After                   case. He even made large oars for his speedboat as
retirement, they travelled together as hereditary          the others were “not made big enough”. He was
leaders for both business and pleasure. One of the         always very independent and kept many traditions
highlights has always been to watch basketball             alive.
games and particularly the All Native Basketball
Tournament in Prince Rupert.                               Niis Wes was instrumental along with other
                                                           elders, in starting the Skidegate Haida Immersion
Niis Wes met Peggy Brown in the early 1970 and             Program in Skidegate. He was dedicated to
they married in 1978 in Skidegate. Peggy was               preserving Xaaydaa kil. He always stressed that he
from the Adams family and belonged to the Wolf             wanted to make sure that the information people
Clan of Aiyansh in the Nass Valley. Peggy’s family         were learning about culture and language was
from her first marriage included five daughters            correct and true to Haida life-ways. SHIP started
and five sons.                                             as a two-week immersion course in the summer
                                                           of 1998. Today, the elders and students continue
In 1985 Niis Wes took his place as the village chief       their work to revitalize the language and culture.
Giidaansta of K’uuna Llnagaay. Since that first
potlatch, he held two more potlatches as chief             Over the last 15 years, Niis Wes traveled
of K’uuna Llnagaay. He was recognized as a very            extensively. He loved his nation, the battles to save
strong chief who saw the importance of keeping             these islands, the language, bringing home our
the nation strong and as one. He was known as              ancestors and visiting with family members. To
the “friendly diplomat”. Other responsibilities            the end he wanted to make sure we were okay.
included accompanying dignitaries from other               We want to say to Dad, haaw’a, haaw’a, haaw’a
countries to his village site, showing and sharing         for the love, the teachings, support and guidance
the history and remains of K’uuna Llnagaay.                throughout our lives. Have a wonderful fishing
                                                           trip. •
Niis Wes recalled two Ladies of High Standing;

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

Forest Management                             Strategic Planning
Colin Richardson has been hired               CHN and the Secretariat of the Haida Nation met in April for two days
as the new Haida Operations Man-              of strategic planning. The sessions were well attended and facilitated by
ager at the Ministry of Forests and           Peter Lantin. Discussion included governance, economics, reconciliation,
Range in Queen Charlotte. He will             the Secretariat of the Haida Nation and policy and procedures. The
work to bridge issues between the             meeting was held at Port Clements’ new Multi-purpose building.
Minostry of Forests and the CHN
and will begin duties at the end of
May. •

It’s Official
The Haida Tribal Society is now
officially known as the Secretariat
of the Haida Nation. The name
change was made this March.
   The directors of the Secretariat
are: CHN - Cindy Boyko, Cynthia
Samuels, Robert Davis, Beryl Parke;
OMVC - Harold Yeltatzie; Skidegate
Band Council - Eddy Russ; Hered-
itary Chief’s Council - Allan Wilson.

Forest Guardians to
                                              Strategic Planning in Port Clements (clockwise from bottom): Trevor Russ,
reorganize                                    Beryl Parke, Loise Helmer-Rullin, May Russ, April Churchill, Frank Parnell,
The Haida Heritage and Forest                 Ron Williams, Robert Davis, Allan Wilson, David Crosby, Captain Gold, Doll
Guardians office in Masset was                Squires, Pat Fairweather. Also in attendance were Vince Collison, Cynthia
closed and staff were laid-off                Samuels, Guujaaw, Arnie Bellis, Cindy Boyko, Bill Beldessi, Lisa Coste, Simon
this past April. The Secretariat              Davies, Marguerite Forest, Marvin Collison.
and Council of the Haida Nation
decided this action was necessary
for financial and structural reasons.                                                 Poisonous Mushrooms
  A complete overhaul and                                                             Pamphlet Published
restructuring of the department is                                                    A new, free pamphlet, authored
necessary to ensure the relevance to                                                  by Paul Kroeger and CHN (Lana
the objectives of the Nation.                                                         Wilhelm, RPF), is now available at
  The CHN recognizes the need                                                         visitor information centres, Gwaii
for a sound forestry program with                                                     Haanas, RCMP and the CHN
trained and qualified personnel to                                                    offices.
ensure the interests of the nation                                                      The pamplhet is a guide to
are met. •                                                                            poisonous mushrooms growing on
                                                                                      the Islands and covers species both
Drumming, Singing                                                                     familiar and others that are not so
The new, Old Massett Youth                                                            well known.
Worker, Charlene Lawrence and                                                           Each species has a full colour
Vanna Collinson will be offering                                                      photograph for easy identification
Haida Drumming and Singing a                                                          and an equally colourful
couple of times a week (7-9 pm)                                                       description of the symptoms you
watch for posters and notices. One                                                    will experience if you eat them
night will be at the Old Massett                                                      by mistake. This small guide is
Hall and one night, will be at the                                                    invaluable for novice and serious
Dii TuulangNnaay Family Center in                                                     mushroom pickers. •
Old Massett. •

                                                                                                             May 2009

Reporting from the CHN
Quarterly Meetings
Sitting through two-days of
meetings is at times a struggle, but
if you want to know what is going
on, the CHN Quarterly meetings is
the place to be—a lot of business
gets done and the airing of issues is
complete. The meetings were held
April 23 & 24, 2009

Report from the President
“Having settled some of the
more contentious issues with
the Crown,” Guujaaw said, “ We
can turn our attention to other
matters.” Guujaaw was referring to
having secured the Natural Cultural

                                                                                                                   Photo: Cynthia Samuels
and Spiritual areas. “Items on the
CHN agenda include management
of the Protected Areas, securing a
sustainable economy and planning
in the Marine Areas. Also of
concern is the proposed Enbridge        A young man about town: Rylie Stocker not only attends language class in
pipeline which would bring tanker       Massett he also showed up at the quarterly meetings in New Masset.
traffic. As well, the container
shipping port will dramatically         Title Case                              on what terms fishing lodges can
increase marine traffic into Prince     Guujaaw reported that the title         operate and what other economic
Rupert and around the islands           case is one of the reasons the          activities are appropriate and can
bringing in foreign marine life and     nation is able to move forward          be of benefit to Haida Gwaii.
attendant problems.”                    on various negotiations with
                                        both federal and provincial             Haida Independance Project
Protected Areas                         governments. The title case is a        The CHN is putting together the
With the new Protected Areas            means of persuading them to sit         corporate structures to oversee
secured, the next step is to design     down and talk about issues he said.     and manage those economic
a management plan and strategies        The court decisions, up to now,         projects that utilize the resources
for our people to enjoy those           that have ruled in Haida and First      and the capitol of the Nation.
lands. This work is happening           Nations' favour have built a case       The Haida Enterprise Corporation
in Massett at the Strategic Land        history that supports the title case.   is the concept which will create
Planning office (CHN offices).                                                  an entity that would be separate
Some of the these Heritage Sites        Economics                               politics from the management of
have boundaries that include            CHN’s mandate is to first take care     businesses and yet be accountable
shoreline and ocean. The CHN            of the land and culture and then        to the people it represents. While
wants to see a plan for these areas     work on the roadmap to economic         the corporation will manage the
that will ensure they serve Haida       independence. Having completed a        business, the profits will be held by
people. Guujaaw was clear that the      land use plan, we know where and        the Treasury of the Haida Nation
CHN had no interest in, “locking        on what terms logging could occur,
ourselves out of our own home.”         where and also will determine           Continued next page

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

Report from the CHN Quarterly Meetings - continued from page 7

where priorities on how money
would be spent will be set by the
Haida Nation as a whole.

Marine Use Planning
Marine Use Planning is proceeding
and will feed the planning from
Haida Gwaii into the coast wide
process is designed to develop
and implement plans for estuaries,
coastal and marine areas along
the Pacific Coast. PNCIM, are you
ready for it, stands for Pacific North
Coast Integrated Management

                                                                                                                              Photo: Cynthia Samuels
In Gwaii Haanas another planning
process is taking place which
includes the CHN, and the
government of Canada. In 1988
when the Gwaii Haanas Agreement               The April Quarterly meeting in session at the Howard Phillips Community Hall.
was signed the Haida designation
included the Marine Area and the              planning is underway. Paul Pearson      said that the Nation is in a position
Federal government committed                  and Cindy Boyko represent CHN in        to design its future and is also set
to include marine area around                 this process.                           to realize financial independence.
the Heritage Site and to this end,                                                    But, he cautioned that this has got
                                              Guujaaw said, “As with the land,        to be approached being mindful
                                              there was never any comprehensive       of the social matters and with
             G    YAAHLAA                     planning, rather, they reacted          concerns that prosperity could also
          EE                       N          to economic demands. We will            bring troubles in certain quarters of
                                              come out of this process [marine        the Nation.


                                              planning] with a far better situation


                                              then we have realized up to now.”
                                                                                                 •      •     •
                                              Sport Fishing
                                              Sports fishing has been a               Report from the Vice-president
                                              controversial topics for many           Arnie Bellis spoke generally about
                                              years. While we have witnessed the      what has been achieved compared
         HA                                   tons of fish passing through our        to other nations, and the strategic
              IDA L GEND                      airports, this pales in comparison      approach to treaty, title and
                   E                          with the casualties of catch and        economics.
          go to                               release. As directed, the CHN
                                              now has agreement with three            Treaty                        lodges to end catch and release.        On the issue of treaty he said
       and click on                           These lodges also realize the need      that the CHN will never give up
                                              to conserve bottom fish and to          title to the land and that is just
      haida legends                                                                   what the current treaty process
                                              provide local employment etc.
                                                                                      asks for. What was a treaty table
                                              To conclude his report, Guujaaw         is now a new process and called

                                                                                                            May 2009

a Reconciliation Table. This new        corporation so that it does not do     achieved he said in forestry, We
negotiation differs from past treaty    things we don't want it to do, and     have already made new rules that
tables in that the process now          how can you ensure me that it will     will see logging more responsive to
includes the federal government         be good for our people?                nature and culture.”
along with the province.
                                        President: We have always fought       Question: Things have been mov-
The management of the protected         corporations, and it is understand-    ing too slow with getting the
areas and how to allow commercial       able that we be cautious. We will      sports fishing lodges on-board. I
use of the resources is something       design our own model for manag-        would like to see a deadline set for
that is being worked on in the          ing our business and we will set the   them to sign an agreement and
management plan. The Vice-
president said that people need
to get involved in these processes
[management plans] to see
themselves in the plan and to
begin thinking about the kind of
work they want in the future. He
said that asking questions was
important in that it promoted
healthy discussion on subjects.

"The ideas that are being discussed
need to be tested through healthy
discussion," he said. "We need to
get to a place with both villages
and our citizens where economic
development initiatives are

                                                                                                                       Photo: Cynthia Samuels
complementing each other and not
competing. We need to organize
ourselves so that logs don't
leave the Islands without being
manufactured, all this is within
our grasp. When we all get to           L-R: Leo Gagnon; Sgaann 7iw 7waans, Allan Wilson, Hereditary Chiefs Coun-
this place it will benefit us—skills,   cil; Captain Gold, CHN Skidegate; Gaahlaay, Lonnie Young; Remi Levesque,
money, work ethic— and we will          Skidegate Band Council.
be able to do it in a new way, not
like the past."                         parameters of operations, account-     then if they don’t we consider our
                                        ability and safegards. We have         options—legal action might be one
                                        looked at other corporations, good     of those options. What is CHN do-
           •     •      •
                                        and bad and have to consider how       ing and when is this going to be
                                        we would ensure our corporation        resolved?
Questions & Answers                     can’t run away from us. Our cor-
Following are questions asked of        poration will manage the business      President: We are considering
the President and Vice-president        but will not spend the money that      many options. We are in negotia-
in response to their reports. The       it makes. The money will go to the     tion with lodges right now and ex-
questions are a combination of a        Treasury of the Haida Nation and       pect more agreements. We would
few different questions on the same     be spent to support the priorities     like to accomplish what we want
topic.                                  that the Haida Nation determines.      without going to court and yes that

Question: How do we form a              As an example of what can be           Continued next page

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

Quarterly Report continued from page 9
option is available, but the courts           an Economic Development Summit         people that is the rub and that is
do not necessarily provide the so-            to move these things forward and       one of many things we need to fig-
lutions that we want.                         we also need to clarify the roles of   ure out.
                                              the Band Councils and private en-
Question: We need jobs. The way               terprise. We need to work togeth-      Vice-president: In terms of figuring
things are going it looks like every-         er on this. We need to be able to      out the economics, and we want
thing is set up for tribal councils           take care of ourselves now and in      to make a better collective. The Vil-
and band councils but not individ-            the future—there are many elders       lage Councils should b
ual entrepeneurs. How are individ-            who are in need, our language is       ready to take advantage of the op-
uals going to fit into the future?            in need. Individual enterprise is      portunities we are creating.
                                              available to anyone, but when it is
President: The CHN is calling for             using the common property of the       Question: Our language is in peril.
                                                                                     We have language programs in
                                                                                     the villages but the leadership for
                                                                                     this critical issue has to come from
                                                                                     higher up. I believe this has got to
                                                                                     be a national government issue.
                                                                                     How is the CHN going to deal with

                                                                                     President: The Skidegate Band
                                                                                     Council has already asked CHN to
                                                                                     take over the language program.
                                                                                     Education is normally the mandate
                                                                                     of Band Councils though we know
                                                                                     that our language is endangered
                                                                                     and needs our attention—there
                                                                                     are few left who speak it fluently—
                                                                                     we know this is a high priority for
                                                                                     our people and we need to find
                                                                                     a way to continue financing the
                                                                                     programs, this highlights the need
                                                                                     to move on our economy. It also
                                                                                     comes down to each individual
                                                                                     taking the time to learn it.

                                                                                     Vice-president: We need to strike
  A sunflower star eating herring spawn on eelgrass along the southwest              a process to deal with the issue
  shore of Louise Island during low tide. See page 22 for herring survey             head on. •
  story. Photo: Lynn Lee

                                                                                                          May 2009

Vancouver: how to host
West Coast Night
by Kwiaahwah Jones

Every Wednesday evening since   cial and Victoria Drive in Vancou-             in their very being. Whether it is
1997 at the Friendship Centre   ver, the north west coast urban rez            Mount Currie, the Nishga’a, the
on Hastings between Commer-     gathers to share what is ingrained             Gitskan, the Tsimshian, the Haida,
                                                                               Kwakwaka’wakw and other nations
                                                                               including the Polynesian com-
                                                                               munities come and share songs,
                                                                               dances and food. People come to
                                                                               the urban rez gathering in times
                                                                               of celebration, rights of passage,
                                                                               announcement of names, and in
                                                                               times of need. This night, in fact
                                                                               every Wednesday night is simply
                                                                               called West Coast Night.

                                                                               West Coast Night starts at
                                                                               about 7:00 pm and it serves an
                                                                               important purpose of filling the
                                                                               west coast/pacific soul. It gives
                                                                               identity to those who are from
                                                                               home and comfort for those who
                                                                               are home sick. I know from my
                                                                               six years of living in Vancouver,
                                                                               West Coast Night served as a
                                                                               draw for my soul, whether it’s
                                                                               singing by the Kwakwaka’wakw,
                                                                               Haida, or Nishga’a a stir occurs
                                                                               that reminds me how important
                                                                               our teachings are.

                                                                               One of my fondest memories
                                                                               of West Coast Night was a
                                                                               gathering of Kwakwaka’wakw,
                                                                               Salish, Squamish, Tsimshian and
                                                                               Haida, all urban, all young who
                                                                               weren’t ready for West Coast
                                                                               Night to end at 10 o’clock —
                                                                               the Friendship Centre closes
                                                                               at 10. A group of about ten of

                                                                               Continued next page

                                                                               Reggie Davidson dancing the Shark
                                                                               mask at the Friendship Centre in
                                                     photo - Kwiaahwah Jones

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

                                              Russian cell phone with case made of apple wood.
 How to answer the
 phone in Haida

                                                                                                                                                                                photo - Kwiaahwah Jones
 In Skidegate
 Sii.ngaay ‘laa.         Good day.
 Ernie huu iijii.        This is Ernie.

 Sing.Gaay ‘laa.         Good
 morning.                                                                                        A young child makes a get-away at West Coast Night, Vancouver.
 Ernie huu iijii.        This Ernie.
                                                                                                 West Coast Night - continued from page 11
 SintaajiGa ‘laa         Good                                                                    us sat around in the streetlight            a grand peace dance welcomes
 afternoon.                                                                                      illumination of Hastings Street,            everyone to the evening, you
 Ernie huu iijii.        This is Ernie.                                                                                                      know that sharing in one of
                                                                                                 singing songs, joking, laughing
                                                                                                 and dancing.It could have been              the most powerful expressions
 Singxyas ‘laa       Good
                                                                                                 a scene straight out of the movie           any culture can have. The men
                                                                                                 Smoke Signals.                              challenged each other to steal
 Ernie huu iijii.    This is Ernie.
 Courtesy of the Skidegate Haida                                                                                                             the breath of the single ladies,
 Immersion Program.                                                                              Every year a nation take turns              and the ladies opposed each
                                                                                                 and host the night, much like               other in dance swinging their
 In Massett                                                                                      a big feast they feed everyone              fingers in the air. Dogfish was
 Singee ‘laa gang Good day.                                                                      who comes. In a potlatch or                 danced in smooth fluid motion
 The ee is an ay sound as in gay.                                                                feast a clan mobilizes to host. In          and mountain goat kicked its way
                                                                                                 Vancouver it’s not clan, but it’s           around. Eagle spirit mesmerized
 Gasinuu dang gahl tlaayd                                                                        all the ones who live in the city           all who watched, paddlers
 hlang.aang?                                                                                     that are of one nation who come             chanted and moved in unison
 How can I help you?                                                                             together to host showing who                as they ambitiously paddled
                                                                                                 they are and where they come                through the hall. A jazzy finish
 Haws dang ahl guusuu asang.                                                                     from.                                       ended the performance, and the
 I will talk with you again.                                                                                                                 encore ensued with the Rainbow
 Courtesy of the Language Nest.                                                                  March 9th, 2009 it was the                  Creek Dancers showing off their
                                                                                                 Haida’s turn to host a feast and            blankets.
 You can visit SHIP in Skidegate                                                                 bring what is ours to the people
 anytime, their door is always                                                                   of Vancouver. A large feast was             The evening did come to an end,
 open. Regular evening classes                                                                                                               yet like the light of the sun, those
                                                                                                 prepared by our urban matriarchs
 are scheduled for Monday
                                                                                                 with contributions, potluck style,          who go to West Coast Night
 and Thursday 7-9. They can be
                                                                                                 from urban Haidas. The Rainbow              know it will come around next
 reached at 250.559.7861 or by
                                                                                                 Creek Dancers brought song,                 week to warm their soul. West
 email < >.
                                                                                                 dance and a large contribution of           Coast Night has been a gathering
 In Massett, Lisa White of the                                                                   food, much of it harvested here             since 1997 and continues to
 Language Nest can be                                                                            on Haida Gwaii.                             bring meaningful experiences
 reached at 250.626.5135 or                                                                                                                  and memories to all who go. •
 250.626.3718.                                                                                   When a petite hummingbird
                                                                                                 flutters across the dance floor, or

                                                                                                                           May 2009

The Beach
by Sharon Jeffery, Haida Fisheries Program Biologist
                                                                                            of Haida culture and economics.
                                                                                            Generations have learned how to
                                                                                            catch crabs in the shallow waters;
                                                                                            dig for the quickly burrowing
Stretching over 30 kilometres                     points in the plan include a Total        razor clam; read the weather to
in length, the surf-swept, sandy                  Allowable Catch of 297,000 lbs,           profit from scallops swept onshore;
expanse of North Beach is a unique                a season opening on March 26,             and just enjoy leisurely walks
ecosystem that provides abundant                  and a change to the opening dates         along its shores. However, this
harvest of clam, scallops, crabs and              from tides 5’ and lower, to 4’ and        precious beach is under pressure
other seafood. Yet, due to its great              lower.                                    and increased and careless use
attraction and sensitive nature the                                                         is affecting the health of North
things that make this beach unique                Haidas have gathered seafood              Beach. Luckily there are many
may also contribute to its downfall.              and enjoyed the shores of North           ways in which we can minimize
As our use of the beach increases                 Beach for as long as anyone can           impact on the beach while getting
so will our need to take more                     remember. The bounty that has             maximum enjoyment from it.
responsibility for its care.                      been harvested is an important part       Continued next page

North Beach has an important
commercial fishery; in fact, it
boasts the only commercial
fishery for razor clams in British
Columbia. Landed catches ranging
up to 520,000 lbs, worth about
$500,000 have provided an
important source of revenue to the
people of Massett. The commercial
fishery for clams on this beach
is also of historic significance
as it was the first commercial
fishery in BC to be cooperatively
managed by a First Nations group
and the Department of Fisheries
and Oceans. Under the co-                              A Clam’s Life
management agreement the Haida                         Razors clams breed between May and September and this lifecycle
Fisheries Program develops a razor                     is associated with rising water temperatures. A temperature of 55°F
clam management plan with DFO.                         is believed to be required to trigger spawning. When breeding,
The plan is reviewed yearly by both                    eggs and sperm are discharged onto wet sand and into seawater—
parties and sets the total allowable                   fertilization occurs by chance. It is estimated that females hold
catch, minimum size limits, and                        between 300,000 and 118 million eggs, and the larger the female
season opening dates.                                  razor clam the more eggs produced. The fertilized eggs bear little
                                                       resemblance to their parent clams. The microscopic larvae have
To determine the commercial Total                      short, hair-like projections called cilia with which they propel
Allowable Catch, Haida Fisheries                       themselves through the water. Toward the end of a free-swimming
conducts surveys during the                            period, which may last from 5 to 16 weeks, shells begin to form and
summer low tides to calculate how                      they start looking like clams. The young clams take up residence
many clams are on the beach. This                      in the sand where their growth rate varies from area to area. Some
survey is then used to set a catch                     razor clams have reached 18 years of age, and it’s possible that older
limit for the following year.                          individuals exist.

The management plan for 2009                           Illustration from: Tales of Raven, Vol 1 - No Tankers Tanks, 1977
has just been released and key

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

                                                                                    The Beach - continued from page 13

                                                                                    Following are some tips on how to
                                                                                    make your trip to the beach as low

  Ocean People
                                                                                    impact as possible:

                                                                                    • Minimize driving on the beach,
                                                                                    walk when you can, and when

                                                                                    long distances need to be covered
           anessa Bellis has been an                                                drive only above the 5’ tide line.
           employee of the Haida                                                    The Haida Fisheries Program marks
           Fisheries Program since                                                  this height on the beach east of
   1996, when she was hired as
                                                                                    Tow hill (look for buoys spaced
   a seasonal employee. By 1999
                                                                                    every 250m along the beach), but
   Vanessa was a regular on the HFP
                                                                                    when in doubt drive as high on
   team and in 2007 she moved into
   a full-time permanent position                                                   the compacted sand as possible.
   and has continued to take on new                                                 By doing this, you will ensure
   responsibilities every year.                                                     that young, fragile clams that live
                                                                                    both higher on the beach and in
   The daughter of Joyce and John                                                   shallower sand than adults, are not
   Bennett, Vanessa is a Raven from                                                 crushed under the weight of
   the Yagulaanas clan of Dadens. In                                                the vehicle.
   2003 she married Noel Bellis and
   together they have two children—                                                 • Make sure that your vehicle is
   Isabel and Seth.                                                                 well maintained before you take it
                                                                                    on the beach—oil or gas leaks onto
   In her spare time Vanessa enjoys                                                 the sand can be devastating to
   walking, jogging, knitting, and                                                  animals in the area
   spending time with her family.                 Vanessa Bellis of the Haida
   In her youth, she swam in the                      Fisheries Program             • Take only what you need from
   ocean in front of here house and                                                 the beach and leave nothing
   competitively throughout the               Vanessa’s participation in these
                                                                                    behind: Garbage on the beach is
   province. When HFP advertised for          projects gave her the skills and
                                                                                    not only an eyesore, but a health
   individuals interested in training         knowledge she needed to take
                                                                                    hazard for wildlife
   to be a commercial diver in 1999,          on more challenging roles in the
   Vanessa applied and was chosen             fisheries program.
   and it was no surprise that she                                                  • Harvest responsibly: all non-
   proved strong and comfortable in           Vanessa has a great work ethic,       commercial harvesters should
   the water given her background.            her enthusiasm and willingness        follow sport fishing guidelines. For
                                              to learn has made possible her        example, do not harvest female,
   In January 2000, Vanessa became            move to supervisory roles and in      under-sized, mating or soft-shelled
   a Worker’s Compensation Board              2007 Vanessa became the field         crabs. By not taking these crabs
   certified diver and has been active        supervisor for the recreational       you will ensure the maximum
   on HFP dive projects ever since.           fishing creel. In this job she is     reproductive potential of the crab
   Over the years she has participated        responsible for crew supervision,     population in the area.
   in geoduck, urchin, abalone and            scheduling, data entry and
   herring dive surveys and has also          quality control, and day-to-day       North Beach is a precious place
   worked on many other projects              operations. Vanessa has excelled in   that is important to the people of
   including razor clam biomass               this position and will be missed by   these islands in so many ways. With
   estimates and aging, sockeye               all the crew during her upcoming      the proper care it will continue to
   enumeration, coho counts, Yakoun           maternity leave. We wish her all      feed, educate and give peace to
   counting fence, Pallant Creek,             the best in the coming year and       residents for years to come. It is
   smolt trapping, and creel surveys.         look forward to her return in 2010.
                                                                                    up to each of us, on every visit, to
                                                                                    make sure that we do our part in
                                                                                    respecting the place that gives us
                                                                                    so much. •

                                                                                                                  May 2009

Art & Education: a potent combination
by Patricia Moore – Economic Development Planner, Old Massett Village Council

The Old Massett Village Council                carve three thirty-three foot poles.   Old Massett artists to carve six,
has embarked on a new project                  The participants spend their           seven-foot poles that will create
called A Splash of Art. The project            mornings working on upgrading          signage throughout the Masset
began with Band Administrator,                 math and English skills, researching   and Old Massett area; Hence the
Jason Majore wanting to put a                  Haida art, learning the Haida          name A Splash of Art. The dates of
totem pole in front of the newly               language, exploring the basics of      the pole raising events are to be
renovated community hall.                      drawing, working on regalia for the    announced. •
                                               pole raisings, and learning how to
The economic development                       market and promote their art work
department took on the task                    through portfolios, biographies and
and began looking for funding                  artist statements.
in September 2007. The idea of
having a pole standing in front                The program has not only given
of the community hall ended up                 participants’ exposure to many
creating a project that will build             different mediums of art, but
capacity in the community, create              it has provided them with an
tourism infrastructure and provide             opportunity to explore the many
employment for six months.                     careers attached to the profession.
The funding campaign to raise                  Of great benefit to students is that
over half a million dollars began,             the program includes an Essential
and after a year and a half the                Skills for Work Element that has
project was ready to launch in                 them learning skills they need to
January 2009; thanks to generous               be productive employees. The Art
contributions from Gwaii Trust,                Access program is a pilot project
Coast Sustainability Trust, BC                 and will serve as a template for
Arts Council, Service Canada, the              other communities in Northern BC,
McLean Foundation, and North                   and the Old Massett Village Council
West Community College.                        is honored to be a part of it!

Since January of this year, thirteen           Carver Donnie Edenshaw’s totem
participants from the Art Access               will represent the Raven clans of
Program, which is provided                     Old Massett, and Jaalen Edenshaw’s
through North West Community                   will represent the Eagle clans. The
College, have been given the                   poles will stand in front of the Old
opportunity to work with carvers               Massett Community Hall and will
Christian White, Jaalen Edenshaw               belong to the community.
and Donnie Edenshaw as they                    Christian White’s totem will be a
                                               gift to the communities of Port
  Giving Thanks                                Clements and Masset, and will
                                               stand on the new hospital grounds
  The organizers of Gaaysiigang
                                               situated between Old Massett and
  - an oceans forum for Haida
                                               Masset. The carving will represent     Jaalen Edenshaw and Donnie Eden-
  Gwaii, would like to further
                                               the relationship between the three     shaw are carving 33’ poles which will
  thank: Nadine Wilson, Des
                                               communities, and will serve as a       be raised in front of the Old Massett
  Wilson, Bottle & Jug Works,
                                               reminder of what we can achieve        Community Hall. Christian White is
  Sheila Karrow and John Davis
                                               when we work together.                 working on the third 33’ pole that
  for their contributions and
                                                                                      will be placed in front of the new
  hard work. •
                                               In addition to the poles, OMVC is      hospital situated between New and
                                               commissioning the work of various      Old Massett.

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

A transformation of self
by Fraser Earl – Instructor, NWCC Masset Campus

In the community of
Old Massett, people
who achieve success
through the arts brings
a great deal of respect
to the community.
Haida youth look up
to carvers with the
same reverence as
their other heroes—
basketball stars. And
as Haida art is cultural
in context, each of the
aspiring artists in this
First Nations Art Access
program needs to be
fluent in their cultural
practices and stories.
This is exactly what the
First Nations Art Access
program does, it assists
artists to navigate
the cultural learning
that is essential to
becoming an artist. For
many in the program,             Counter clockwise from front: Daisy White, Amos Williams, Bryce Williams Coleen
this was their first             Williams, Gary Bishop, Sylvia Williams, Jordan Jones, Jerome MacDonald, Ross Samuals
positive experience in           and Neil Gertzen, in the middle.
                                                  artists, mentors and community         The Masset campus portion
The program began January 5 and                   leaders. The program includes an       finished on May 2nd with an art
will finish June 21, 2009. Classes                apprenticeship with three carvers      show based around the idea of
are being held at the Northwest                   that are working on the Old            transformation. Transformation is a
Community College campus in                       Massett Legacy Totem Pole and          key concept in stories and art with
Masset, and at the Tluu Xaadanaay                 Sign Carving Project.                  many supernatural beings altering
longhouse and two other outdoor                                                          their appearance between animal
carving sites in Old Massett.                     The class has also organized and       and human form. In Haida art the
                                                  participated in two field trips; a     act of transforming is portrayed in
The FNAA program is a North                       day trip to the village site of Yan    many ways, and in this case the
West Communicy College fine                       across Massett Inlet and a trip to     transformation will literally be
arts program combined with                        the Kaay Llnagaay Heritage Centre      the artists. •
an Old Massett Legacy Project.                    in Skidegate. Both field trips were

                                                                                          DID YOU KNOW?
The program consists of classes                   extremely popular and provided
in Haida language, culture,                       context for their cultural and
computer upgrading, and career                    creative processes. The field trips     Did you know that 10% of households
planning all focused within an arts               also were a catalyst to spur further    purchase a work of art each year. This
context. The goal of the program                  learning and had a big impact on        spending total about half a billion
is to develop and foster aspiring                 the class, both individually and as     dollars in Canada.
artists to reach their potential as               whole.                                  Canada Council for the Arts

                                                                                                              May 2009

Forest People.5                                                                 by Tyler Hugh Bellis

Spring is here! Now that we are
out of the wild winter weather and
into the blue skies of spring it’s
time you get out and start check-
ing out some of our wonderful
forests we have... what’s that you
say not so blue skies... well too
bad, when you live here you hardly
can complain about rain, we live in
a rainforest! Well maybe if running
around in the woods all day is not
your cup of tea perhaps our profile
on Paul Bell will get you interested
in some of the work we do at the
Forest Guardians.
Paul Bell - Geographic
Information Systems (GIS)
Paul recently joined the Forest
Guardians/Haida Mapping team
in October 2008. He was hired
as a GIS technician and was               GIS Tech, Paul Bell with son Ryder.
immediately thrown into the fray
by working on numerous mapping           for the complex programming              family and when a job opened at
projects. Paul’s previous training       that was involved in the making          the Forest Guardians he jumped
and work experience has allowed          of GIS softwar.” This view into          on it.
him to meet the challenge of his         how complex GIS programming
new job with confidence and like         was really impressed Paul and he         Paul admits, “It’s tough
so many of our employees, Paul has       decided to pursue his interest by        jumping back into GIS work,
a wide variety of skills and passions.   enrolling in a 16-month GIS course       it has been 5 years since I last
He is an avid fisherman, a proud         at Niagara College in 1998.              worked at Weyerhaeuser, but
father of his two year old boy                                                    my qualifications and my work
Ryder, and husband to Lisa. He has       After the completion of the course       ethic has allowed me to tackle
a wealth of local work experience        Paul returned home and looked for        any obstacles that I have faced
and is an accomplished artist.           work in his new field of expertise.      so far.” Many of the obstacles
                                         Paul found himself working for the       were unexpected he explains.
Paul first got interested in             forestry company Weyerhaeuser            “My job at Weyerhaeuser and my
computers in the early 90’s, he          (presently Western Forest                job here at Haida Mapping are
started playing around with              Products) in 2002. Paul worked for       exact opposites even though they
different programming software,          Weyerhaeuser for four years before       are both considered mapping.”
he explains, “I would make the           deciding to tackle new challenges        Along with having to learn a new
computer do simple commands              which included managing the Old          version of the GIS software, Paul
that it wouldn’t or shouldn’t know       Massett Village Council wood lot         is also adapting to how the two
how to do and that was always            and working for the Skeena-Queen         organizations function. “Here at
fun.” From there Paul started            Charlotte Regional District. This        Haida Mapping we can only work
looking further into different types     occurred over the last 5 years but       with data that is shared by forest
of computer software until he            with the birth of his son 2 years        tenure holders and a lot of the time
came across the world of GIS. Paul       ago Paul was hoping to work in
very quickly grew a “great respect       the Massett area to be closer to his     Continued next page

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

                                                                                                                Forest People.5 - continued from page 17

                                                                                                                they are fragments of complete
                                                                                                                data sets. Since companies collect
                                                                                                                their own data it is considered to
                                                                                                                be private property and they often
                                                                                                                only share it when they are legally
                                                                                                                required to. It is very frustrating
                                                                                                                to work with incomplete data
                                                                                                                sets when you are trying to work

                                                                                   Illustration - Cori Savard
                                                                                                                through different projects.”

                                                                                                                Currently, Paul is compiling data
                                                                                                                from every forest tenure licensee

                                                                                                                on Haida Gwaii to see exactly how
                                                                                                                much logging activity has taken
                                                                                                                place by each company. This data
                                                                                                                will give us more knowledge about
   A b-ball player — clearly the star                                                                           resource management on the
                                              The fruits of their labour is now
   — receives a pass, makes a slick                                                                             Islands and will also be utilized in
                                              posted to the web and available
   move and in the dying moments                                                                                the Haida Title Case.
                                              at Just click
   of the game shoots from centre             on the link haida legends and
   court, only to be robbed at the                                                                              Paul thinks there is a lot of
                                              up pops the societies Haida
   basket by Raven. Sounds like                                                                                 opportunity for young Haida
                                              language site. There are nine
   the All-Native in Rupert but it’s                                                                            people to get involved in GIS work.
                                              legends ready for viewing and
   not. This is the final scene in the                                                                          “A young person would need to
                                              reading. There are four short
   video, Hoopla a 4-minute video                                                                               be interested in programming
                                              videos — Yaanii K’uuka, The
   produced locally with a crew                                                                                 software in order to appreciate the
                                              Golden Spruce, Hoopla and
   of over 25 Massett and New                                                                                   complex mapping software and
                                              the Haida Raid. Most of the
   Masset artists, animators and set                                                                            they would need to be interested
                                              material is in Haida with English
   designers.                                                                                                   in their environment because that
                                                                                                                is what we are be mapping. They
   Getting young and old to                                                                                     would be really benefit from doing
                                              The illustrated stories include
   disconnect from the tv and                                                                                   some of the ground work such as
                                              Tree Spirt, Yaahl gin Tlaaw hlaas
   spend time learning is a difficult                                                                           first-hand data collection, that is
                                              Gyaahliingee (Raven Creation
   assignment. But getting hooked                                                                               what really ties the earth features
                                              Story) Taan Aaw Gyaahlingee
   on Haida rather than the latest                                                                              into the mapping software and
                                              (Bear Mother) and three others.
   reality show was the task this                                                                               then what it could or should look
                                              Theses stories are accompanied
   group set themselves. Why                                                                                    like on a map. If this young person
                                              by audio files of the story being
   fight it!                                                                                                    also has an interest in database
                                              read in Haida and m ore content
                                                                                                                design and management they
                                              will be posted as it is developed.
   The Xaad Kihlgaa Hl Suu.u                                                                                    will really enjoy working with GIS
   Society certainly wasn’t going to,                                                                           software.”
                                              Xaad kihlgaa hl suu.u is the
   but what they did do was realize           umbrella Haida language
   that the power of TV and other                                                                               To me his work sounds like a
                                              organization for the northern
   media could interest a whole new                                                                             complete package both in the
                                              Haida dialect and assists the Xaad
   audience and plant the seeds for                                                                             office and in the field so I guess
                                              Kil Gwaaygangee (Language
   learning the Haida language. So                                                                              Paul will never be safe from the rain
                                              Nest), school programs, and
   they got busy writing proposals,                                                                             around here. Anyway, I hope this
                                              Simon Fraser University Haida
   which were successful, hired a                                                                               look at Paul’s work has given you
                                              Language Proficiency Program
   team and began working on                                                                                    a better understanding of what a
                                              among others. •
   scripting videos, and writing                                                                                GIS technician does and we should
   stories.                                                                                                     all be thankful to have such talent
                                                                                                                working for the Haida Nation. •

                                                                                                                    May 2009

Speaking out for language
by Florence Lockyer

There are many questions about
what’s happening in Old Massett
with regards to the revitalization of
our Haida language? Well, just to
let you know there are many initia-
tives in Old Massett that have been
running for years.

The Haida Language and Cul-
ture Program has been supported
with financial assistance from the
Old Massett Village Council. It is a
program offered in all three local
schools — Chief Matthews School,
Tahayghan Elementary School
and the George M. Dawson High

Chief Matthews School operates
its own program, but is still un-
der the umbrella of the Old Mas-

                                                                                                                               photo: Lisa White
sett Village Council. There they
have the expertise of Ms Rhonda
Bell, naanii Nina Williams and tsi-
inii Stephen Brown who have been
assisting Ms Bell with mentoring        Emily Goertzen, Archie Stocker and son, Rylie at the Language Nest in Massett.
and translation. Marilyn Collison is
staff support in the classroom. It is   sistance and strong support naanii         and tsiinii Stephen Brown. The
the practice of the Chief Matthews      Mary Swanson, tsiinii Claude Jones         program has been operating for
School to incorporate as much           and Diane (Smith) York and some-           almost 25 years but with depleting
Haida language and culture into all     times Louise Almquist fills in as re-      enrollment at the high school it is
classrooms, not just the language       lief staff.                                in jeopardy. It is important for our
class.                                                                             youth to learn about their culture
                                        At George M Dawson, the Haida              and language. Encouragement for
The local public schools,Tahayghan      Language and Culture Program is            higher enrolment in the electives is
Elementary School and George M.         offered as an elective for students        essential for its continued success.
Dawson, offer the Haida Language        who want to learn more about
and Culture Programs as an elec-        their language and culture. The            Simon Fraser University Linguis-
tive course in their system. It’s of-   lead teacher is Marni York with            tic courses are offered on a regular
fered in partnership with OMVC          support from Candace Weir-White            basis in Old Massett. Want to at-
and School District # 50. Students                                                 tend, but don’t want to take it for
at Tahayghen Elementary School
attend the Haida Language and
                                        xaad kihlgaa hl suu.u                      university credit? You can audit the
                                                                                   course, which means you can take
Culture Program which is lead by              = speak Haida                                              continued next page
Maureen Lagroix. She has the as-

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

Speaking out for language - continued from page 19

it, do the work, but not be graded
on your assignments—it’s a great
                                              xaad kil                                just up to you to get there. When
                                                                                      you walk through the door you
way to learn. In the same pro-                    = Haida language                    are greeted by Lisa and the elders,
gram a few students successfully                                                      usually naanlang Emily Goertzen,
completed the certificate in Haida            begin, as parents and children can      Primrose Adams, and Merle Ander-
Language Proficiency this last aca-           use their new words in a variety of     sen. After a few ‘lessons’ a very nice
demic year. This adds to the num-             settings.                               lunch is prepared and served by
ber who received their certification                                                  the OMVC Culinary Artists. Then
several years ago. There are at least         Currently, we are in an era where       after lunch, songs are learned by
twelve community members who                  the number of our valued elders is      both parent and child. Bring your
have received language proficiency            decreasing and the number of flu-       drum... it’s fun! Lisa White is the
through SFU. Contact Lucille Bell             ent speakers is not increasing. Our     coordinator and can be reached
about the SFU courses.                        children who are learning xaad kil      at the Family Center from 9 am to
                                              in school are not having an oppor-      2:00 pm on these days. •
Along with these courses that                 tunity to use or practice Haida out-
are offered there is also a Mon-              side of school. Why? Because few
day night language practice at the            parents are learning the language.
Family Center. At these sessions              The Language Nest is free – it’s
SFU students can practice
speaking with an elder but
you don’t have to be an SFU
student to attend, all com-
munity members are invited
to the practice nights – they
are free and you don’t have
graded assignments!

For the younger children
not yet of school age, (up to
four-years) and their par-
ents, the xaad kihlgaa hl
suu.u Society continues to
offer the Language Nest on
Mondays, Tuesdays, and
Wednesdays from 11 am to
1:30 pm.

The Language Nest is open
to all parents and their
young children; it is de-
signed to help the parent
learn alongside their chil-
dren so that our language
can be used more at home
and in the community. A
                                                                                                                               photo: Lisa White

learner needs to practice
the language with another
speaker and so the prac-
tice of teaching parents and                                          Tsiinii Stephen Brown
children is a good way to

                                                                                                            May 2009

Living in a bubble...
               of plastic
by Kwiaahwah Jones

As I sit and stare out the window,     (in this case waste waters) in the      digestive tracts — everything from
I find myself thinking about the       world. There is an area twice the       concentrations of microscopic
world, its politics, religion and      size of the Texas, floating between     pieces of plastic to fishing line and
culture and sometimes I think          Hawaii and Japan, which scientists      shampoo bottle tops.
about what I take for granted in       refer to as a plastic soup.
my life. Perhaps something I have                                              According to the United Nations
overlooked, something I have           This plastic soup is contained by       Environmental Program, it is
not appreciated, or maybe it is        ocean currents and undercurrents,       estimated that about 1,000,000 sea
something that I have done that        and was discovered by ocean             birds and 100,000 sea mammals
will affect people in the future.
                                       “... over 100 million tons of trash [...]
Consider the simple act of going       circulates in an area that is also known
to the grocery store. I go and buy
my food and leave. I go home to
                                       as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or
cook and unwrap the food and           simply, Trash Vortex.”
toss the wrapping into the trash
can. Most, if not all of the items I   researcher, Charles Moore. Moore        die every year because of plastic
am dealing with are wrapped in         believes the area holds over 100        and the Trash Vortex is one
plastic of some type. Plastic is a     million tons of trash that circulates   contributor to that statistic. The UN
very durable non-biodegradable         in an area that is also known as        also figures 90% of ocean pollution
substance that takes forever to        the Great Pacific Garbage Patch         is plastic and in 2006 an estimated
breakdown. Plastic comes in many       or simply, Trash Vortex. Moore          46,000 pieces of plastic could
forms, from the most obvious           thinks that the patch is a collection   be found in every square mile of
which are bags from the store, but     of about 80% land-based material        ocean.
it is also found in thumb tacks,       and 20% trash dumped by ships
computers, pens, mechanical            at sea. This slow moving plastic        Living on Haida Gwaii we are
pencils, erasures, medicine bottles,   patch is actually hard to see.          surrounded by water and not
water and juice bottles, eco-fleece,   That’s because the contained            only do we rely on the ocean but
key chains, binders, it is sewn        material is in a constant process of    bears, eagles, ravens, and other life
into cloths, and the list goes on      disintegration. In 2001, researchers    depend on what the surrounding
and on. Some plastics claim to         found that in certain areas the         oceans provide. It would be
biodegrade, but this type needs        number of bits of plastic reached       heartbreaking to come across any
an environment with specific           one million pieces per square mile.     animal that has died as a result of
conditions to biodegrade. What all                                             plastic. When we are living in and
of these words are leading up to       What kind of impact does this           with plastic what is the answer?
is something that directly affects     have? Well, it affects all sea life     How can we do something about
us, and future generations. That is    within the area as bits and pieces      this growing problem and how
the effect of plastic in the Pacific   of this swirling vortex are mistaken    can we contribute to the solution
Ocean.                                 as food by birds, turtles, and other    here on little old Haida Gwaii?
                                       sea life. Scientists are finding        Maybe the answer is simple…
Currently, no pun intended, out        birds and turtles killed by plastics.   maybe its time to move away from
there in the Pacific Ocean is one      Autopsies are showing unnaturally       plastic personally and as an Islands
of the biggest floating wastelands     large amounts of plastics in animal     community. •

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

Knock, knock who’s there?                                                                           by Lynn Lee,
                                                                                                    Haida Fisheries Program

While many people were enjoying               Department of Fisheries predicts       (by being eaten). Although it is
the cozy heat of their wood stove             the amount of herring that will        perhaps most talked about, herring
in late March, a Haida Fisheries              return the following year with a       are not the only forage fish in the
crew was basking in the cold west             computer model. The DFO herring        ocean. As salmon fishermen and
coast waters of Port Louis, braving           spawn database contains over 70        seabird experts know, sand lance
swell, wind, and snow to measure              years of data and is one of the most   (or needlefish) is another critical
herring spawn. Crazy, you say?                consistent time series of fisheries-   forage fish. Others less familiar are
Perhaps, but it is actually necessary,        related biological data available on   opalescent squid, smelts, open-
and fun. As many know, the                    the coast. For over a decade, Haida    ocean ranging Pacific saury and
herring populations around Haida              Fisheries has surveyed the spawn       hundreds of lanternfish species.
Gwaii have not been doing so well             for DFO. This year more spawn was      Next time you catch a spring
in recent years. On the east coast            surveyed than in recent years, so      salmon, have a look in
populations are so low that even              perhaps the forecast is looking up.    its stomach and see what it’s
k’aaw fisheries have been closed,                                                    been eating.
but on the west coast, a few                  K’aaw or herring-roe-on-kelp is an
licenses have operated including              important food for Haidas. Herring     Herring spawn season brings with
two (one local and one off-island)            and herring roe are also critical      it a huge gathering of marine life.
this season.                                  links in the marine ecosystem,         Eagles by the hundreds perch
                                              transferring energy from the sun       on trees, scanning the shoreline
Using spawn distribution and abun-            (by eating plankton) to marine         with keen eyes for balls of herring
dance data, and herring sampling              species which include birds,           flipping at the surface. Humpback
data surveyed each year, the                  fish, mammals and invertebrates        whales open their gigantic baleen-

                                                                                                                              Photo: Haida Fisheries Program

The 2009 Haida Fisheries herring spawn dive survey crew on the MV Haida Provider (left to right): Steve Wesley (engi-
neer), George Wesley (skipper), Sharon Jeffery (biologist/diver), Shane Collinson (diver), Brad Setso (technician/diver),
Lynn Lee (supervising biologist/diver), and George Williams (cook). The crew was out on the survey vessel for 25 days
between March 27th and April 27th, starting out with 6 days on the west coast in Port Louis and working throughout
the east coast between Selwyn and Skincuttle Inlets for 19 days.

                                               May 2009

filled mouths to scoop herring
by bucketfuls and Pacific white-
sided dolphins join in the chase.
Packs of sea lions bark and snort,
feeding on herring and ready to
do donuts around unsuspecting
divers while avoiding killer whales
teaching their young to hunt. Gulls
are packed so full of herring spawn
that they forget the need to fly.
And quietly, slowly, unassuming
invertebrates like bat stars, whelks
and moon snails graze upon
blankets of spawn.

All this we witness from on and
under the water during our herring
spawn dive survey work. It is truly
inspiring. But when a big bull sea
lion comes knocking at the door,
it’s a tough office to work in. Really!

Haida Laas - Newsletter of the Haida Nation

    Athlii Gwaii Today
                                                   Gwaii Haanas Superinten-
                                                   dent, Ernie Gladstone with
                                                   CHN President, Guujaaw
                                                   at the site of the Athlii Gwaii
                                                   camp, Gwaii Haanas. News-
                                                   paper clippings from the
                                                   cabin walls show press cover-
                                                   age of the events in 1985
                                                   that protected the southern
                                                   islands of Haida Gwaii.

                                                                                     Photos: Len Munt


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