Steven Tatoosh, front, and the rest of his Hupacasath First Nation council including Brandy Lauder, left, Warren Lauder, second from right, and Jim Tatoosh have all been re-elected for the next two years. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Hupacasath First Nation re-elects entire council for new term

Steven Tatoosh takes helm for fifth term as chief, talks economic prosperity for future

The Hupacasath First Nation has re-elected its entire four-person council for the next two years.

Steven Tatoosh will remain as chief along with councillors Brandy Lauder, Warren Lauder and Jim Tatoosh.

“It’s offering good consistency,” said Steven Tatoosh, who is in his fifth term as chief. His opponent for this election was Jolleen Dick.

Seven people put their names forward for council positions in addition to the two candidates for chief, Tatoosh said. This is Warren Lauder’s seventh term, Jim Tatoosh’s fourth term and Brandy Lauder’s second term.

Re-electing an entire council shows confidence and certainty to the agencies the Hupacasath First Nation are dealing with, Warren Lauder said. “It’s not a learning curve for a new council. That speaks volumes,” he said. “We all look forward to serving our nation for another two years.”

“This is our second year working together and we do a good job,” Jim Tatoosh said. “I guess the membership liked that too.”

Steven Tatoosh said the Hupacasath have a number of economic projects on the go, with more in the planning stages that could potentially benefit the Alberni Valley as a whole. He declined to elaborate on the projects.

”We consider ourselves a progressive nation with very good business sense,” he said. “Eventually we’d like to become self-sufficient. It looks like that’s the way we‘re going in the future.”

The Hupacasath First Nation has 340 members; they are not engaged in a treaty process at the moment, Tatoosh said.

The nation recently received a rural dividend grant from the provincial government to go toward its community farm project. The farm has expanded its summer food box program to include 60 shares to the general public this coming summer. Manager Jason Lion has also approached Alberni Valley-based restaurants about providing local produce for menu items.

The Hupacasath’s Kleekhoot Gold Bigleaf Maple Syrup has already sold out for 2019, Tatoosh said, and they are working with forestry companies in the region to identify Bigleaf maple tree stands for possible expansion in the future.

The Hupacasath waste management program will expand this year, Warren Lauder added.

Tatoosh said the council’s goal is to continue to support its members financially. “We’ve been in a position to support the people that are here now,” by continuing regular financial distributions to on-reserve members.

”We’ve built our trust fund up to a quarter of a million dollars,” he added, “so we’re putting money away to the future.”

For off-reserve Hupacasath members, “we connect with people who live out of town as much as we can,” he said. “They get the same distributions as everyone on reserve, we put seafood away for them.”

Budgeted items such as house insurance for low income pensioners or for other housing needs are considered targeted funding and cannot be spent off-reserve, he explained. Tatoosh is hoping recent federal government decisions will change that.

Hupacasath council members learned in the recent election that communication with their members is critical. “We continue to work on transparency and communications,” Tatoosh said.

”On the campaign trail we learned that our communication with our membership could be a bit better, so we’ll work on that in the next two years.”

Just Posted

Two Alberni Valley hockey players win bronze at NAHC finals

Team BC male awarded a bronze medal after controversial decision

Port Alberni to hold Walk for Dog Guides on May 26

Fundraising event one of 300 across Canada

Mattress recycling program provides work experience in Port Alberni

Recycle Matters was started by INEO Employment Services

Port Alberni’s Five Acre Shaker announces first headliner

Canadian rock band Harlequin will take the stage on Sunday

Two new developments approved for Port Alberni

Rental apartments and new retail space proposed

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Most Read