In March of 2005, Nuu-chah-nulth hereditary and elected chiefs gathered at a historic meeting to launch Uu-a-thluk, a new approach to managing aquatic resources in Nuu-chah-nulth Ha-ha-houlthee (Chiefly Territories). Uu-a-thluk is an aquatic resource management program administered through the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC). Uu-a-thluk is funded through a contribution agreement with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and works within the policies and practices of the NTC.
Uu-a-thluk brings Nuu-chah-nulth-aht together to work with other governments and groups. The program framework allows us to manage our aquatic resources consistent with Nuu-chah-nulth practices and principles, complementing and reinforcing Ha’wilth patuk Ha’wiih (Nuu-chah-nulth governance). Uu-a-thluk works with Nuu-chah-nulth Nation fisheries programs, stand-alone nations and nations with their own Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy agreements. Together, we are increasing Nuu-chah-nulth participation in the harvest and management of our aquatic resources.
In our Nuu-chah-nulth language, uu-a-thluk means “taking care of.”
Our vision is to manage Nuu-chah-nulth Ha-ha-houlthee of our Ha’wiih in a sustainable way for our muschim, consistent with Nuu-chah-nulth knowledge and values. This is a responsibility given by Naas. Our aquatic resources must fulfill our sustenance, ceremonial and societal needs, and provide an economic base for healthy communities.
What does Uu-a-thluk do?
Access: Uu-a-thluk increases Nuu-chah-nulth access to sea resources by (1) protecting and advancing Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights, (2) maximizing Nuu-chah-nulth participation in beneficial government programs, (3) participating in projects that increase current access and sustain resources and (4) retaining knowledge of Nuu-chah-nulth rich oral history and culture as it relates to the sea.
Management: Uu-a-thluk improves the Nuu-chah-nulth role in sea resource management by (1) providing a forum for Nuu-chah-nulth to work together and with other governments and organizations on aquatic resource management issues, (2) studying, monitoring and documenting resources within Nuu-chah-nulth Ha-ha-houlthee to help manage and protect habitat and resources and (3) assisting Nuu-chah-nulth nations to develop and implement strategic plans for their fisheries departments.
Capacity: Uu-a-thluk enables and equips Nuu-chah-nulth individuals to take advantage of opportunities in the sea resource sector through training, education, mentorship and workplace opportunities.
NTC Uu-a-thluk Fisheries: Uu-a-thluk staff currently includes a program manager, deputy program manager, three regional fisheries biologists, a program coordinator, communications and development coordinator, capacity building coordinator and protected areas planner. Seasonally, Uu-a-thluk also hires Nuu-chah-nulth interns.
Council of Ha’wiih: Three times per year the Council of Ha’wiih hosts a forum where Ha’wiih or their representatives from 14 autonomous Nuu-chah-nulth Nations come together to work on fisheries issues with DFO and other agencies, organizations and First Nations. The Council of Ha’wiih includes representatives from Ahousaht, Ditidaht, ?ii?atis/?iinax?int, Hesquiaht, Hupacasath, Huu-ay-aht, Ka:’yu’k’t’h’/Che:k’les7et’h’ Nuchatlaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Toquaht, Tseshaht, Uchucklesaht, and Yuu-u?i??ath.
Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG): The JTWG includes First Nations, Uu-a-thluk, and DFO staff. In addition to being a place to discuss fisheries technical issues, the JTWG also acts as a clearing house to direct issues and opportunities to First Nations, DFO, the JTWG itself, or the Council of Ha’wiih for resolution or further action.
Glossary of Nuu-chah-nulth words
uu-a-thluk – Taking care of
hishukish ts’awalk – Everything is one
iisaak – Respect with caring
Ha-houlthee – Chiefly Territory comprised of lands, resources and people
Ha’wiih – Hereditary Chiefs
Naas – Creator
muschim – The community/the people