Reflections of a summer intern

By Isaiah Dick, 2023 Fisheries Intern

When I first heard about Uu-a-thluk’s internship opportunity in the last couple weeks of school, my first thought was, “This would be the perfect summer job coming out of high school.”

Even before hearing about what I would be doing, all the certificates and different things I would be learning, I could already tell how amazing of an opportunity this was. I sent my letter of introduction in, made sure it was written to the best of my ability, and then all I could think about was what my summer would look like if I was able to land this internship.

June 11 was the day I sent my letter in. Two days later, on June 13, I received a response and was offered an interview for June 20. On the same day of the interview, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council called back and told me that they were offering me the internship.

I started work the following week and the very first thing we did was an overnight work trip to the Nitinat Hatchery. The trip involved project work with the Ditidaht First Nation fisheries crew that was filmed by a media company hired to produce a video for Uu-a-thluk.

Project work included setting up an echosounder to monitor a group of salmon stuck in a river. This trip ranked high in my experience because of the feeling of being somewhere I have never been before.

The boat launch to get to the river was in Ditidaht Ha-houlthee (chiefly territory), which I had never been to, and the place we stayed at was new to me as well. Everything about this trip was fun and I got to know my peers a bit.

Although I had a good time, the change of pace in my schedule was definitely a challenge. Doing so much at once was pretty draining at first, but it was enjoyable.

The following week, the Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries took place in Campbell River, and I was invited to attend. It was a big meeting between nations to talk about fisheries and presentations on different projects, changes, and ideas brought forward to the council.

This was another overnight trip and was cool to experience. It was a two-day meeting though, and I found it challenging to log all my hours and make sure they were right.

Over the next few weeks after the council meeting, we would make frequent trips down to Ditidaht while I got more familiar with the office and the work I would be doing there.

Going into August, activities included helping out at science camps, getting my boat license, travelling to Hucuktlis (Henderson) river to help with the fish fence operations and taking a Swiftwater Rescue training course. A ton of opportunities and new experience all within my first month of working with Uu-a-thluk Fisheries.

Towards the end of August, the team travelled down the Alberni Inlet and spent a few days in a nice cabin on the water for a Reference Fishery project. We got to be out on the boat all day.

This was my favorite trip and project, because I got to learn how to troll for salmon, how to use downriggers and I learned how to take scale and DNA samples.

Meeting everyone at Uu-a-thluk was probably the most enlightening part of my experience. Seeing how people did their jobs and how they managed different things.

Sabrina Crowley, Huu-yiik, the person I worked with the most, was way ahead of everything all the time. She always had a plan, always had an answer and seemed happy with her job. She is who I want to be later in life.

Uu-a-thluk would like to extend a big klecko klecko (thank you) to Canada Summer Jobs and the Nuu-chah-nulth Employment and Training Program for providing the funding to make Isaiah’s internship possible.

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