British Columbia NationTalk

RCMP Shoot Tla-o-qui-aht Woman on Mother’s Day Weekend: Indigenous Leadership Furious with Ongoing Police Brutality

(Tla-o-qui-aht Territory and Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C.) On May 8th, a Tla-o-qui-aht mother of two was shot by the RCMP after they responded to a call for help. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and the First Nations Leadership Council are calling for an immediate, transparent and transformative response which includes the Tla-o-qui-aht community at every step of the way.

Chief Moses Martin, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, stated “Our community and our families are completely devastated. The woman who was shot by the RCMP is in critical condition and this is the third recent shooting by the RCMP of one of our people – our population is approximately 1,150 people. Needless to say, we are experiencing heavy trauma and shock. We are frustrated that we are being told to wait for the investigation, which could take months. We will be seeking support for the family and we will also be seeking interim measures with the RCMP and the IIO.” The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Hereditary Chiefs and Elected Council issued a statement demanding changes to the justice system following the RCMP shooting of 26 year old TFN member and mother Chantel Moore on June 4, 2020; they are still waiting for the changes they asked for.

“What will it take to make the tragedies stop? The use of lethal force by Canadian police forces against Indigenous peoples is a deadly epidemic in Canada. There have been numerous inquiries, studies, reports, and a First Nations Justice Strategy in BC created to address the need for justice reform. Despite this, our citizens continue to be the victims of unnecessary police violence leading to serious injury or death as a result of police shootings. The lack of action on implementing proposed solutions will only lead to more of our citizens being injured or dying. The time for police reform is now,” said Lydia Hwitsum of the FNS Political Executive.

This shooting comes just three months after the fatal police shooting of Julian Jones, another Tla-o-qui-aht member, reaffirming the numerous calls by the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation and Indigenous leaders across the country for substantial police reform to address the systemic racism and violence that is evidenced every time we have another Indigenous person shot by the police. These calls have included the reallocation of police funding to support de-escalation and trauma informed services, the appointment of an Indigenous person to the IIO processes, and the implementation of First Nations-led police services and forces.

“Our prayers go out to the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation who are facing yet another police shooting, while still managing the trauma and grief of the shootings of Julian Jones and Chantel Moore with no response to previous calls,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “We refuse to sit idly by and be silent while our people continue to be shot and murdered. We demand immediate action and full transparency by the police and the Independent Investigations Office in this investigation including a full review of the detachment, and the implementation of all calls put forward following previous shootings. Our thoughts are also with this young mother as she undergoes treatment and healing, and demand necessary resources be put in place to support her, her family and her community in dealing with this trauma.”

Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations, stated “Unlawful use of force and the ongoing deaths, injuries and devastation to First Nations is never ending. Police brutality must stop now. The deadly cycle of violence is largely fuelled by systemic racism and we look to Canadian leadership to urgently make the transformative changes that will provide all people with protection of the right to life, liberty and security, and which will build stability to our society as a whole.”


The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Administration is located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, in Tofino, British Columbia. The Tla-o-qui-aht Nation and its people, are a nation with over 1200 Members. The Administration is comprised of about 50 employees that continues to grow as the Tla-o-qui-aht Nation’s Lands, Economic, and local growth continues. As a traditionally strong nation, our teachings continue to honour our traditional Governance of our Ha’wiih (Hereditary Chiefs), and in doing so we provide service to our members to care, and promote our traditional values. For more information

The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN), First Nations Summit (FNS), and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).

For further information, contact:

Chief Moses Martin, TFN Phone: (250) 266-2765
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, UBCIC Phone: (778) 866-0548
Lydia Hwitsum, FNS Phone: (604) 868-0032
Annette Schroeter, BCAFN Phone: (250)962-1603


Dr. Terri Aldred awarded Resident Doctors of Canada honour for medical education

May 11, 2021

Dr. Terri Aldred has been awarded the Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC) Mikhael Award for Medical Education in the staff category.

Dr. Aldred is a clinical instructor in the faculty of medicine’s department of family practice and Medical Director for Primary Care with the First Nations Health Authority.

The Mikhael Award for Medical Education honours individuals who have contributed to improving undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in Canada. The recipient of the award must demonstrate a firm commitment to medical education, exemplify creativity and leadership, promote medical education, and bring about change that could contribute to positive, long term improvement to medical education in Canada.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award, especially because I was selected by residents. Being at the helm of this program has been a highlight of my career,” says Dr. Aldred. “It is a joy to mentor such amazing residents who share an interest in Indigenous health and social justice. I would not be where I am without the many Indigenous physicians who have blazed trails for me, and my family and friends who continue to lift me up.”

“It is a joy to mentor such amazing residents who share an interest in Indigenous health and social justice.”
Dr. Terri Aldred

Dr. Ravi Sidhu, associate dean postgraduate medical education in the faculty of medicine, shared his appreciation for Dr. Aldred and her work.

“Dr. Aldred has blessed UBC by her contributions to residency education and healthcare,” he says. “She has supported learners, faculty and patients in her roles as a physician, educator and leader of our Indigenous Family Medicine Program Site. She is well deserving of national recognition and we are deeply appreciative to work with her.”

A resident of Prince George, Dr. Aldred is Dakelh from Tl’Azt’En on her mom’s side and mixed European and Métis Cree on her dad’s side, and a member of the Lysiloo (Frog) Clan. She is an outreach primary doctor with Carrier Sekani Family Services and a Site Director for UBC’s Indigenous Family Practice Program, which serves 12 Indigenous communities in Northern BC. In 2019, Dr. Aldred led the development of the BC Indigenous Medical Education Gathering, a network of current and future physicians dedicated to improving Indigenous health in the province.

Dr. Aldred has previously been the recipient of the College of Family Physicians of Canada First Five Years of Practice Award – BC (2018), the John J. Zack Award for Excellence in Family Practice (2013), and the Darcy Tailfeathers Memorial Award in Medicine (2009-2010).

RDoC honours individuals who have contributed to improving various elements of the lives of resident doctors in Canada. There are currently three awards bestowed annually in the following categories: (a) wellness, (b) medical education, and (c) service to resident doctors.

Past recipients have included resident doctors, program directors, postgraduate medical education (PGME) administrators, and organizations that support resident doctors. RDoC award recipients gain both national and local recognition for their efforts.

In light of physical distancing restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, recipients will be celebrated with a virtual reception on May 20.

A version of this article originally appeared on the FNHA website.

UBC Faculty of Medicine
Email: [email protected]
Office: 604.822.2421


On B.C.’s Indigenous Nurses Day, healthcare workers celebrated for ‘answering the call to justice’ – The Star

May 11, 2021

On Indigenous Nurses Day, Indigenous nurses are recognized for “answering the call to justice” in their leadership transforming and navigating colonial healthcare systems.

Indigenous Nurses Day in B.C. falls on May 10, and organizers say it specifically acknowledges the contributions of Indigenous nurses who have fought for justice and cultural safety in the healthcare system. “To all those who continue to work so close with the people, our hands are held high in your honour this week and every other day of the year,” says Lisa Bourque-Bearskin, an Indigenous research chair of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Bourque-Bearskin, a Nehiyaw iskwêw (Cree woman) from Beaver Lake Cree Nation is also an associate professor with the Thompson River University’s School of Nursing. Her teaching career came after working 25 years as a registered nurse, she says.

Read More:

B.C. Indigenous leaders call for reform after 3rd member of Vancouver Island First Nation shot by police – CTV News

May 11, 2021

VICTORIA — Indigenous leaders in British Columbia are calling for immediate police reform after three members of a small Vancouver Island First Nation have been shot by police in less than a year.

A Tla-o-qui-aht woman was shot multiple times Saturday when police responded to a report of a disturbance at a home in Ucluelet, B.C.

The Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO) is investigating the shooting. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation identified the woman Tuesday as a mother of two and said she remains in critical condition.

The shooting occurred less than three months since 28-year-old Tla-o-qui-aht man Julian Jones was shot and killed by the RCMP on Meares Island, north of Tofino.

Read More:

B.C.’s paid sick leave will support workers, reimburse businesses

May 11, 2021

VICTORIA – Workers will soon have access to a made-in-B.C. paid sick leave program that will support workers to stay home when they are sick during the pandemic and afterward, including permanent paid sick leave, as a result of legislation tabled Tuesday, May 11, 2021.

To better support workers during the pandemic, amendments to the Employment Standards Act will bring in three days of paid sick leave related to COVID-19, such as having symptoms, self-isolating and waiting for a test result. Employers will be required to pay workers their full wages and the Province will reimburse employers without an existing sick leave program up to $200 per day for each worker to cover costs.

“The best way to protect workers, their families and co-workers during this pandemic is to have a paid sick leave program in place,” said Premier John Horgan. “Our made-in-B.C. program will help cover the costs for hard-hit businesses so we can all get through this pandemic together and move to a strong economic recovery.”

The legislation will also create a permanent paid sick leave for workers who cannot work due to any illness or injury beginning Jan. 1, 2022. The number of paid sick days and other supports will be determined following consultations with the business community, labour organizations, Indigenous partners and other stakeholders.

“We are stepping up to create permanent paid sick leave protection for British Columbians as part of our commitment to a better future for workers and workplaces,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “We will consult widely and base the long-term entitlement on what we hear, so it meets the needs of workers and supports healthy businesses.”

The short-term paid sick leave related to COVID-19 will bridge the gap for workers between when they first feel sick and when they can access the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit. B.C.’s COVID-19 paid sick leave will continue to protect workers longer – to Dec. 31, 2021.

To support this leave, WorkSafeBC will set up and, beginning next month, administer the employer reimbursement program on behalf of the Province. This will include reimbursing employers up to $200 per day per worker. For the small percentage of employers that have a highly paid workforce, but do not already have paid sick leave, those employers will be required to cover any remaining wages owed above $200 for each COVID-19 sick day taken.

“Since the outset of this pandemic, B.C. has led the way in supporting workers and making sure they don’t go to work when they’re sick,” Bains said. “As a result of this legislation, if a worker wakes up in the morning and feels unwell, they can stay home in self-isolation and get tested without worrying about losing their income. This is good for workers, good for businesses and good for the economy. It will help avoid workplace transmission and put the pandemic behind us.”

These amendments build on a series of legislative improvements and supports provided by the B.C. government, the Ministry of Labour and WorkSafeBC since the beginning of the pandemic.

Quick Facts:

  • An estimated 50% of B.C. employees do not currently have access to paid sick leave. This means upwards of one million workers in B.C. will benefit from receiving these new paid sick leaves.
  • The ability to take paid leave will be especially beneficial to many vulnerable and low-wage workers (often women or migrant workers) who lack benefits.

Learn More:

For more information on B.C.’s employment standards, visit:

For more information on federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits, visit:

For information on the COVID-19 paid sick leave, visit:

Two backgrounders follow.


Lindsay Byers
Press Secretary
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
[email protected]

Ministry of Labour
Media Relations
250 508-5030


Employment Standards Act amendments

Amendments to the Employment Standards Act will put in place two significant improvements to support workers in staying home when sick.

In the short term, workers will have up to three days of paid leave to stay home when sick due to COVID-19. The Ministry of Labour will undertake consultations as part of creating a permanent paid sick leave that will be effective Jan. 1, 2022, for personal illness or injury. Feedback from the consultations will determine the number of paid sick days a permanent program will include and will be announced prior to Jan. 1, 2022.

Highlights are as follows:

Three days of paid COVID-19 sick leave

  • This legislation will establish up to three days of paid COVID-19 related sick leave for workers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who are waiting for test results and need to self-isolate while following the guidelines of the BC Centre for Disease Control.
  • Full- and part-time workers are eligible to take this leave.
  • Employers will be required to pay workers their regular wages. Employers can then apply for reimbursement, up to a maximum of $200 per day.
  • Any employer that does not currently have paid sick leave benefits, such as small- and medium-sized businesses, will be eligible for reimbursement.
  • Under the proposed legislation, when a worker requests to take this leave, an employer could ask for reasonably sufficient proof, although no doctor’s note is required.
  • This leave will be effective from the date of royal assent to Dec. 31, 2021.

Administration of temporary COVID-19 sick leave

  • WorkSafeBC will administer the reimbursement program for the short-term COVID-19 sick leave on behalf of government with funds provided by government.
  • The reimbursement system is expected to be set up using existing IT infrastructure within 30 days. At that point, employers will be asked to register with WorkSafeBC to enable reimbursement.
  • This program is not a part of the workers’ compensation system and will not affect WorkSafeBC’s employer premiums or its accident fund.

Permanent paid sick leave

  • This paid leave will supplement the existing three days of job-protected personal illness and injury leave brought in last spring, effective Jan. 1, 2022.
  • The number of paid days will be determined after consultation.
  • The legislation and subsequent regulation will set a minimum standard for a long-term paid personal illness and injury leave, assuring financial support for workers who miss work because they are sick or injured.


Lindsay Byers
Press Secretary
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
[email protected]

Ministry of Labour
Media Relations
250 508-5030


B.C. government supports for workers throughout COVID-19

Ministry of Labour – Employment Standards Act amendments

Paid leave for workers to get their COVID-19 vaccine (April 19, 2021)
Employment Standards Act amendments provide workers with up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their COVID-19 vaccine are now in effect, retroactive to April 19, 2021.

Job-protected leave for vaccinations (April 1, 2021)
Before bringing in paid leave for COVID-19 vaccines, the Province made regulatory improvements under the Employment Standards Act to quickly bring in a job-protected, unpaid leave. Part- and full-time workers will be able to take the time they need to receive the vaccine or to take a dependent family member to receive the vaccine.

Government extends temporary layoff period, businesses maintain workforce (May 4, 2020 – present)
In response to the economic impact of COVID-19 and to ease financial hardship on businesses and keep workers connected with their jobs, government first extended the temporary layoff period from 13 to 16 weeks in May 2020. In late June, government extended this period to 24 weeks, expiring in August 2020, to give employers more time to recover before recalling staff.

Both extensions were designed to coincide with the availability of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. In addition, the Ministry of Labour created a simplified online application that allowed employers and workers to jointly apply to extend temporary layoffs beyond August 2020 quickly and easily. Temporary layoffs are currently being used by businesses affected by the pandemic.

Protecting jobs during difficult times (March 23, 2020)
Early on during the pandemic, the Province made two significant changes to the Employment Standards Act to better support workers both during the COVID-19 public health emergency and in the long term.

First, improvements allowed workers to immediately take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work for reasons relating to COVID-19. This means workers who are ill, need to self-isolate, need to care for their child or other dependent or whose employer is concerned that the employee may expose others to risk, will be able to take leave without putting their job at risk.

Second, to better support workers on an ongoing basis, the changes also provide up to three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who cannot work due to illness or injury. This is a permanent change that brought B.C. in line with all other provinces in Canada.


Supporting workers who contract COVID-19 on the job (Aug. 14, 2020)
British Columbia was the first province in Canada to add a presumption for COVID-19 and similar viral infections to the Workers Compensation Act. This is important for workers who are at a higher risk, such as those in the health-care sector. It ensures workers can get care and benefits as quickly as possible, so they can focus on recovering from COVID-19.

Workplace safety inspections and plans (May 15, 2020)
Early in the pandemic, WorkSafeBC created guidelines to help businesses and organizations develop their plans to reopen safely, as the province moved into Phase 2 of recovery. WorkSafeBC has continued this work throughout the pandemic, helping to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in workplaces by increasing outreach, investigations and helping workers and employers maintain effective COVID-19 safety plans.

WorkSafeBC has also been assisting the Vancouver and Fraser Health authorities with workplace shutdowns for up to 10 days as directed by health authorities to keep workers safe and contain COVID-19 exposures where there has been an outbreak.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

Support for temporary foreign workers and seasonal workers from other provinces (April 13, 2020 – present)
The Province spent approximately $17 million on accommodations, meals and laundry service for the 4,997 temporary foreign workers who came to B.C. between April 13 and Dec. 31, 2020. It has also allocated $35 million for the 2021-22 fiscal year to continue to support B.C. farmers in safely accessing and accommodating temporary foreign workers. The successful temporary foreign worker 14-day quarantine program demonstrates what can be accomplished by working together with various provincial ministries, industry representatives, migrant support organizations, the federal government and foreign governments.

B.C. worked with local governments and growers in Creston and the Okanagan to secure safe campgrounds and personal protective equipment for seasonal workers from other parts of Canada, while ensuring they were educated in COVID-19 protocols for worker and community safety.

Ministry of Finance

Pandemic pay supports front-line health and social service workers (March 15, 2020)
The Province announced that more than 250,000 eligible front-line workers will receive temporary pandemic pay. This was a lump-sum payment of about $4 per hour for a 16-week period and started on March 15, 2020. Eligible workers received the payment directly through their employer, with no need to apply.

The B.C. government launched the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers on May 1, 2020, which provided a one-time, tax-free $1,000 payment to B.C. residents whose ability to work was affected due to COVID-19. More than 600,000 British Columbians received the full $1,000. The benefit helped British Columbians who had lost their jobs, hours or who had their ability to work curtailed by the sudden closure of the economy.

Ministry of Health

Front-line worker priority to receive COVID-19 vaccines (March 18, 2021)
More than 300,000 front-line workers were prioritized and made eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, as B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan moved forward ahead of schedule. Beginning in April 2021, workers in priority groups identified by public health and the COVID-19 Workplace Task Group started to receive their first dose of the AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD vaccine. Workers included first responders, grocery store workers, teachers and child care workers.


Lindsay Byers
Press Secretary
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
[email protected]

Ministry of Labour
Media Relations
250 508-5030

Connect with the Province of B.C. at:


B.C. not effectively managing Conservation Lands Program

May 11, 2021

VICTORIA – The Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia has released a new audit report:

Management of the Conservation Lands Program.

The audit examined whether the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has effectively managed the Conservation Lands Program to conserve important habitats for significant fish and wildlife species, such as species at risk and migratory birds.

Key findings

Overall, the audit concluded that the ministry has not effectively managed the program.

“We found the program lacked strategic direction, and most plans for wildlife management areas were not current or approved,” said Michael Pickup, auditor general. “We also noted that regional staff had limited strategies to resolve the unauthorized use of conservation lands and hadn’t assessed which lands were most at risk from this use. We found that between 2009 and 2020, hundreds of unauthorized activities had occurred on conservation lands.”

Additionally, the inventory of conservation lands was inaccurate, and the ministry had not monitored or reported publicly on the effectiveness of the program.


The report contains 11 recommendations mainly focused on providing strategic direction, revising outdated management plans for wildlife management areas, resolving threats to the most at-risk conservation lands, improving tracking of inventory, and monitoring and reporting publicly on the effectiveness of the program.


British Columbia has the greatest diversity of native fish and wildlife in Canada and the Conservation Lands Program contributes to government’s strategy to maintain this diversity. The program aims to conserve and manage important habitat for significant fish and wildlife species, such as species at risk and migratory birds. Habitats conserved through the program include some of the most biologically productive estuaries, wetlands and grasslands in the province.

The program is also responsible for the conservation of wildlife management areas which include internationally recognized wetlands, important migratory bird habitat and habitat for many species at risk.

Related links


Audit at a Glance


About the Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia

The auditor general is a non-partisan, independent officer of the legislature who reports directly to the legislative assembly. The Auditor General Act empowers the auditor general and staff to conduct audits, report findings and make recommendations.

Contact us

For general questions and interview requests:

Nicholas Johnson
Manager, Communications
[email protected]
250 419-6117

Subscribe to receive report eAlerts.


SFU Publishing establishes endowment in name of first Indigenous graduate

May 11, 2021

SFU’s Publishing Program has established a new endowment in recognition of its first Indigenous graduate of the masters of publishing program (MPub).  The Greg Younging Publishing Award Endowment aims to create a fully funded opportunity for an Indigenous student to complete the degree at SFU.

Younging began his work on his influential book, Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guidebook for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples, during his studies at SFU. The guide is fast becoming a staple for writers, editors, and publishers throughout North America.

“Greg was a huge presence in publishing in Canada,” says Suzanne Norman, industry liaison for SFU’s Publishing Program. “We worked very closely with him here at SFU and following his passing on May 3, 2019, we knew we wanted to establish something lasting that would further his life’s work, which was to build a stronger Indigenous publishing infrastructure in Canada.

“Greg was very aware of the opportunities that education can provide, and we hope this endowment will be one of those opportunities. Having the support of publishers from across the country has been affirming. We are thrilled to announce our first multi-year commitment: a three-year, $45,000 donation from Penguin Random House of Canada.”

The endowment will be built over the next three years, with the goal of welcoming the first recipient in the fall of 2025.

The Master of Publishing Program is an 18-month professional program comprising academic and professional experiential learning. It was founded 25 years ago in consultation with members of the Canadian publishing industry, which continues to strongly support the program’s students through hosting professional placements and as new hires, as well as teaching as guest faculty and serving on advisory boards and funding projects. Applications to the MPub close each Feb. 1, with successful applicants beginning their studies in the fall.

For more information about supporting the award contact Suzanne Norman at [email protected] or visit the Publishing Program website,

About Greg Younging

Greg Younging was a nationally and internationally known expert on Indigenous publishing, and a tireless voice and advocate for raising Indigenous voices in Canada, and more broadly known for his book, Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guidebook for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples.

His reputation in Canada as a leading scholar in Indigenous Studies often led him to take on important but sometimes very difficult work, including as assistant director of research for the Canadian federal government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada.

Greg’s passion for making more space for Indigenous writing and publishing led him to complete a PhD focusing on copyright and Indigenous stories. He went on to become a professor and coordinator of the Indigenous Studies Program at the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan, where he published numerous works, including nonfiction and poetry.

A member of the Opsakwayak Cree Nation, Greg was the managing editor of Theytus Books, Canada’s oldest fully owned Indigenous Publisher from 1990 to 2003, returning to the role in 2016 until his passing.

He has worked for a number of organizations including: The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Assembly of First Nations, Committee of Inquiry into Indian Education, and the Native Women’s Association of Canada. He was member of the Aboriginal Arts Advisory Committee of the Canada Council (1997–2001) and the British Columbia Arts Council (1999–2001).


Climbing high and losing ground – Wildsight

Their scientific classification is Oreamnos americanus. To the Ktunaxa First Nation living in the valleys below them, they are known as kyanukxu. While we call them mountain goats, they’re not actually goats either. With split hooves, stark white fur set against the grey backdrop of a mountain peak, and pointy horns, these thin air-residing herbivores live as close to the clouds as they can. And this survival strategy has worked for centuries.

Until now.

Mountain goats live as far north as Alaska and south to Washington; many reside in the Crown of the Continent, a 73,000 square km ecosystem that spans southwest BC, southwest Alberta and northern Montana. Half the worlds’ population of mountain goats live right here in British Columbia.

“They live in a place where winter claims the land, shapes the land, and dominates the land for two thirds of the year. There’s just no other environment for an ungulate remotely like this in this region,” describes Douglas Chadwick, a wildlife biologist, author and journalist who spent seven years studying this wild creature.

Read More:

CFN: Protecting Birds on the North and Central Coast

May 10, 2021

The Pacific Coast is home to wide range of bird species—from bald eagles and ravens to rhinoceros auklets and endangered marbled murrelets. Over many thousands of years, these diverse species found niches along the coast’s rocky shorelines and intertidal estuaries.

Recognizing that many invasive land mammals, such as rats, raccoons and other nest-raiding species, have ravaged birds in other ecosystems, First Nations along the North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii have been increasingly concerned about the health of coastal bird populations.

To find out if invasive species are negatively affecting birds in their territories, the Kitasoo-Xai’xais, Metlakatla and Wuikinuxv Nations partnered with Birds Canada—a national non-profit group focused on bird conservation—on a three-year research project to learn more.

“It was a natural partnership,” says David Bradley, Birds Canada’s BC director. “We wanted to survey important areas for birds in this region, and the Nations wanted to know if invasive mammal species were active there as well.”

The collaboration started in 2019 with a grant from the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk, through Environment and Climate Change Canada, and involved early training for Coastal Guardian Watchmen to carry out the survey work. It also followed on the heels of an earlier research effort from Birds Canada, the Council of the Haida Nation and others to assess and manage threats to seabirds from invasive rats and raccoons on Haida Gwaii.

In one part of the project on the North and Central Coast, Guardians and Birds Canada researchers set up five remote cameras on the remote western side of Moore Islands—a small archipelago in the Hecate Strait, about 60 kilometres northwest of Klemtu. The motion-sensing cameras took thousands of images over the research period, snapping useful shots not just of local bird species but larger land mammals too, including a river otter and coastal wolf.

Bradley says the good news is that the surveys didn’t show any issues with invasive species, and images from the project provide a good indication of how populations are faring in these areas, which will lead to more conversations down the road. It also spurred all communities, First Nations and others, to consider ways of preventing invasive species from being introduced here in the future.

“We’re always open to these kinds of collaborative research projects, especially if there are positive implications for stewardship,” says Vernon Brown, who helped lead the project for the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Stewardship Authority. “Some bird species were historically a big part of our diet, and they’re connected to our culture in many other ways. It’s important that we understand how current populations are doing.”

Brown says it was the first time he’d been to the west side of the Moore Islands, even though he’s visited the east side several times in the past. “The route is a bit tricky to navigate, but we’ve taken youth out there before,” he recalls. “These islands are rich in historical and cultural significance for First Nations, and many oral stories have been passed along referring the region.”

In addition to helping to set up and maintain the cameras, Brown had a chance to apply his plant and cultural identification skills while on the islands, and he found multiple examples of ancient canoe runs along the islands’ shoreline. “The region has a very different environment from the mainland, and was a refuge for people during glacial times,” he explains. “It has also been used as a port to wait out bad weather and waves before heading into deeper waters on the way to Haida Gwaii. From this stopover, people could observe incoming clouds and weather systems, and know when it was safe to head out to fishing grounds further on.”

Although the survey results did not reveal any current threats from invasive species, researchers from the Nations and elsewhere recognize there are many other threats facing coastal bird populations, including climate change and microplastics—often ingested by birds higher up the food chain.

Ultimately, this type of collaborative research is one important step toward ensuring coastal ecosystems remain healthy and intact for birds and all other species.


MNBC picks Successful Proponent for New Central Registry Database

Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) reached a significant milestone in the $1.1-million Wahkohtowin Project, with the selection of Know History to develop MNBC’s new central registry database.

MNBC secured funds from the Government of Canada for Phase 1 of the project, which will include the implementation of a new database. This new system will be more applicant friendly and support online access for application status updates, with the goal of significantly reducing registry processing time for both new applications and renewals. Know History’s staff are currently leveraging findings from the recent registry review to conduct a needs assessment and align their developments with MNBC standards.

“I am excited to see this long overdue investment in our central registry database and system,” says Patrick Harriot, MNBC Minister of Citizenship and Community Services. “We have heard from our community that the current processing times for new citizens and renewals needs improvement, and the MNBC Board of Directors and MNBC staff are working diligently to enhance our capacity.”

Know History, established in 2011, is one of Canada’s leading historical services firms, specializing in researching, documenting and presenting the past. They have received multiple awards for their work, including the National Council of Public History’s Excellence in Consulting Award and the Canadian Historical Association’s Public History Prize. The company specializes in Métis history, having worked with the Métis Nation of Ontario, Métis Nation of Alberta, and the Manitoba Metis Federation. Their team has completed over 300 projects and worked with organizations such as the Government of Canada, Parks Canada, Royal Alberta Museum, Government of Alberta, Whitecap Dakota First Nation and many others.

“The Wahkohtowin project marks a huge milestone for the Nation. The citizenship application process will be more accessible for Metis peoples awaiting citizenship to navigate,” says Briana Greer, Youth Representative for Region 6 and Vice-President of MYBC. “With an easier system, hopefully we can bridge the gap between the approximate 90,000 self-declared Metis in the province with the approximate 22,000 Metis Citizens”

Know History has partnered with Hatfield Consultants to collaboratively develop RootsForward™, a fully customizable and extremely secure software and research system that creates a customized registry of a nation’s members and their ancestors. Hatfield is a Vancouver-based technology and environmental services firm that employs a business unit dedicated to developing electronic information systems that support Indigenous self governance. The RootsFoward™ system serves as the base software and is customized to meet each client’s unique needs. The system features:

  • Efficient procedures for processing citizenship applications and tracking data.
  • Administrative functions to manage membership lists and mail-outs, issue citizenship and harvester cards and run advanced reports that provide insight into membership demographics and history.
  • A digital historical library that organizes and securely holds thousands of archival documents, maps and other historical documents.
  • Standard workflows and quality control measures that eliminate duplication and reduce the possibility of human error.

The Wahkohtowin Project includes new registry equipment and database software, office supply support for communities, and new, full-time staff positions, with the ultimate goal of improving customer service for all MNBC Citizens.


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