Stakeholders met in Anacla on Thursday, Nov. 14 to discuss improvements to the Bamfield road. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Stakeholders met in Anacla on Thursday, Nov. 14 to discuss improvements to the Bamfield road. SUBMITTED PHOTO

QUINN’S QUIPS: Reconciliation is only as strong as its partnerships

Bamfield Road deal is an ideal example of the province working with First Nations

One aspect of the Bamfield Road announcement at the end of last week that deserves attention is the partnership between the Huu-ay-aht First Nations and the Province of British Columbia.

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser, also MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim, announced a $30-million project that will see the government spend $25.7 million and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations another $5 million to chipseal the 76-kilometre road.

The industrial logging road is more than simply access to logging areas or the communities of Bamfield and Anacla at its end: it is a road to opportunity for a busy First Nation. “Their partnership is central to this important project, which will support reconciliation goals, our treaty relationship and, most importantly, safer travel for Huu-ay-aht members to and from their community,” Fraser said.

Huu-ay-aht leaders recognized that partnership too on Friday as they stood with Fraser on the steps of the BC Legislature to make the road announcement. “By working in a respectful way with Huu-ay-aht to make upgrades to Bamfield Road a reality, we see that the Province is ready to work on true reconciliation with First Nations and is honouring the importance of the safety of our community,” Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. said.

“The upgrades they announced (Friday) will make Bamfield and Anacla safer places to live, and it will open up economic opportunities for our communities to prosper together in the future.”

Tayii Hawil (Hereditary Chief) Derek Peters said the partnership shows the Province of BC is honouring Huu-ay-aht elders and the Nation’s sacred principles of ?iisaak (utmost respect), ?uu?aluk (taking care of) and Hisuk ma c’awak (everything is one). It has been a difficult, 20-year journey: eight Huu-ay-aht members died in accidents on the Bamfield Road prior to the two University of Victoria students who lost their lives in the bus crash in September 2019. One of those Huu-ay-aht members was Peters’ own grandfather, also the Tayii Hawil at the time, Art Peters.

“It is tragic that it took the loss of so many to highlight the need for chipsealing the road, but we honour the ones we have lost by doing everything we can to prevent the loss of life along this vital link in the future,” Derek Peters said.

Partnerships may well be considered Fraser’s legacy. He announced Monday afternoon (Sept. 14) that he won’t seek re-election, whenever that may be.

(Some are saying sooner than later, and Premier John Horgan won’t confirm the later part.)

Fraser’s only ministerial role has been as Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Even though he claims the role taught him all that he didn’t know, he took his newfound knowledge and made ground-breaking progress with it.

The Bamfield Road relationship is just one: he also helped smooth the way with the Wet’suwet’en First Nations over the Transmountain Pipeline. And in 2018, he helped the five Maa-nulth Nations create a government-to-government agreement with B.C. that finally put the nations on a level playing field with the provincial government.

Reconciliation does not mean give and take. It’s a coming together of individual knowledge and strengths with respect for each other. Fraser got that: the Province of B.C. seems to be getting it too, finally.

Let’s hope the work Fraser started does not stop with his retirement.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Susie Quinn is the Alberni Valley News editor.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictBamfieldFirst NationsTransportation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Rogers Creek Trail main trailhead is located on the Redford Extension in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Hiker rescued after cold few hours in the bush outside Port Alberni

Alberni Valley Rescue Squad said they receive frequent calls for people lost on this trail

Helma Swinkels, left, from Bibi J’s is all smiles as she makes her first donation under the new business name to Ellen Frood from Alberni Community and Women’s Services (ACAWS). In 18 sales days, Swinkels was able to donate $3,000 to the transition house. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Bibi J’s in Port Alberni makes first donation to non-profit

Alberni Women and Community Services to benefit

Alberta premier Jason Kenney announced that Red Deer and other rural locations would soon be getting doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. (photography by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
EDITORIAL: Leading by example

Those in leadership roles need to follow the restrictions they impose on others

Melissa Martin from the Rollin Art Centre holds two paintings from the Rollin Art Centre’s permanent collection: an original portrait painted by the late Robert Aller, and a mixed media piece called ‘House’ from Peggy Larson that was part of Aller’s private collection. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre to re-open February 2

Newest exhibit will feature some pieces from permanent collection

Rik Abel has opened Rik’s Picks, a vintage record shop on Johnston Road. (TERESA BIRD / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BIZ BEAT: Port Alberni businesses get innovative during pandemic

See what’s new in the Port Alberni business community

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk in Nanaimo

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Most Read