Empowering Nuu-chah-nulth in ocean-related initiatives

Photo above by Island Coastal Economic Trust

Spring is ending in Nuu-chah-nulth communities, marking the transition to summer and a time of increased activity.

Out-migrating juvenile salmon are journeying to the open ocean to mature, while adults are returning to their natal streams to spawn. Wild roses and thimbleberries bloom, offering bursts of colour to Nuu-chah-nulth haahaa- houlthee.

Against this backdrop, Uu-a-thluk staff have been busy advancing initiatives to boost education and employment opportunities for Nuu-chah-nulth-aht, and to preserve culture in an ocean context.

Career Fair Sparks New Opportunities

On April 11, Uu-a-thluk participated in the widely attended Nuu-chah-nulth Employment and Training Program (NETP) Career Fair. The fair buzzed with the energy of over 400 registrants who engaged with industry representatives to learn about the job opportunities available to them.

“We talked with youth who are just beginning to think about work, and adult job seekers with a wealth of experience who are looking for a change,” said Alison Wale, Uu-athluk’s Capacity Building Coordinator.

Wale educated participants on marine sector jobs and training, encouraging Nuu-chah-nulth youth to consider an ocean-related career.

Celebrating Traditional Foods

Indigenous peoples from across Vancouver Island and mainland BC gathered from March 21-22 for the first-ever Island Indigenous Food Gathering. Hosted by Ahousaht First Nation in Tseshaht First Nation ha-houlthee, the gathering provided an opportunity for participants to explore food sovereignty strategies while delving into the rich culinary traditions of their ancestors.

“We need to get back to the old ways of eating … before contact we didn’t have the diseases we have today,” said Les Doiron, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Vice President.

Uu-a-thluk staff attended the event and shared educational materials on Nuu-chah-nulth ocean knowledge. Staff also connected with funders who were present about grants that would enable harvesting workshops in Nuu-chah-nulth communities.

Breakout sessions throughout the gathering explored topics like the reestablishment of food trade among nations and communities, while a herring smoking demonstration led by Hesquiaht First Nation’s Josh Charleson inspired participants to maintain the tradition that dates back thousands of years.

Central Region Harvesting Workshop

Plans are underway for a harvesting workshop in the Central Nuu-chah-nulth Region. The workshop will provide community members with the skills and knowledge necessary to sustainably harvest from local resources.

Through hands-on training and guidance from experienced harvesters, participants will learn about traditional harvesting practices, environmental conservation and food safety regulations.

The workshop promises to be a valuable opportunity for community members to reconnect with traditional food sources and strengthen their connection to the ocean and land.

ummer Science Camps

Mark your calendars! Uu-a-thluk summer science camps are returning to Nuu-chah-nulth communities:

• July 8-12: Ucluelet First Nation
• July 15-19: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation
• July 22-26: Uchucklesaht Tribe
• August 12-16: Hupacasath First Nation
• August 19-23: Tseshaht First Nation

Offered in collaboration with the University of Victoria’s Science Venture program, camps offer an exciting opportunity for youth to engage in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math). They also expose kids to traditional knowledge by connecting them with elders and knowledge keepers.

“If you are an elder and/or knowledge keeper and would like to be a part of our summer science camp programming, please get in touch,” said Wale.

Wale can be reached at alison.wale@nuuchahnulth.org or 250-735-5684.

Captain’s Boot Camp

Uu-a-thluk is offering Nuu-chah-nulth-aht the training they need to be the captain of a small commercial vessel.

The Captains Bootcamp, hosted by Datum Marine Services, will take place from July
22-27. This intensive 6-day training program offers participants the chance to earn three valuable certificates: SVOP (Small Vessel Operator Proficiency), ROC-M (Restricted Operator’s Certificate – Maritime) and Marine Basic First Aid.

Spaces for this free training are limited. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact Wale to be added to a waiting list.

Nuu-chah-nulth seamount naming

Seamount naming workshops are set to take place in Nuu-chah-nulth communities this summer. Nations will have the opportunity to name a seamount (underwater mountain) located within the Tang.ɢwan – ḥačxʷiqak – Tsig̱is Marine Protected Area.

This collaborative effort, undertaken in partnership with the Government of Canada, Council of Haida Nation, and Quatsino and Pacheedaht First Nations, aims to integrate traditional knowledge and cultural practices into modern conservation

By participating in the naming workshops, Nuu-chah-nulth-aht will have the opportunity to learn more about seamounts while embracing their Nuu-chah- nulth language.

Photo above by Northeast Pacific Deep-Sea Expedition Partnership and CSSF ROPOS.

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