Two Summer Interns from Uu-a-thluk’s Tomorrow’s Leaders program Share Their Stories

Apcin hulth (Ahmber Barbosa)

I was born into the Hesquiaht First Nation, and grew up learning our dances, songs, and customs. As a child my great grandparents, Yutl nauk and Tuupuat (Simon and Julia Lucas) would take me and my aunts to stay with them in Hot Springs Cove. I remember learning to harvest, soften, and weave cedar bark during these months with my great grandmother. As kids we would spend our days outside running around, picking berries for dessert, swimming, helping our grandma clean fish and set up the smoke house. The cove was our playground. I fell in love with our culture, and the outdoors; summers with my family was what I looked forward to the most.

As I grew older and the pressure of choosing a path in life became ever closer, I knew that I wanted to do something to benefit the Nuu-chah-nulth people; my people. I tried different pathways to discover where my passions lay so that I might find the right path for myself.

For the last five years I’ve worked in the Canadian Armed Forces as a reservist. There I learned the importance of hard work and dedication, and my love for the outdoors was solidified. During my post-secondary education I studied cellular and molecular biology, and chemistry at Vancouver Island University, and discovered my passion for environmental chemistry as well as the intricate workings of living things.

Now that I knew where my passions were I needed to find something close to home that fit those interests, which is how I came to the decision to apply to the Uu-a-thluk intern position. So far it has been a great experience, and I look forward to learning more about marine biology and how it relates my culture.

Callie Bouchard
I was born and raised in Port Alberni where I spent most of my time outdoors as a child. I was fortunate to harvest a multitude of resources from the ocean with my family. This developed in me a strong passion for the natural resources along Vancouver Island’s west coast, and, for looking to ways of managing and conserving these resources for generations to come.

After high school I was unsure how to turn my interests into a career and so decided to travel. Upon returning home to Port Alberni, I secured a position working in Kyuquot Sound during the summer months. I returned to this job for four summers and formed life-long friendships along the way. During that time I learned about traditional ways of harvesting natural resources and of living in a remote West Coast setting.

Spending my summers in Kyuquot rekindled my passion for managing our natural resources on Vancouver Island as I heard so many stories of how the once abundant marine resources were dwindling and changing the way of living for the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ people. I then discovered the Bachelor of Natural Resource Protection program at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo. Upon getting accepted I was finally on my way to the career in Fisheries Management I had always dreamed of. In between my first three years of University I worked as a Technician for Fisheries and Oceans Canada out of Campbell River where I assisted with stock assessment activities in both Nootka Sound and Campbell River. Tasks included working on the Sport Head Recovery Program, training creel surveyors, and collecting biological samples from several species of salmonids for various projects.

This year upon seeing the posting for a Uu-a-thluk fisheries Intern, although I am Métis and not a member of a Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation, I was eager to expand my knowledge of traditional and cultural ways of harvesting and managing marine resources. The first few weeks have already been incredible and informative. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer will bring.

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