Turning the Tides of History

Since 2006 the five nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations have been fighting the Federal Government for Aboriginal fishing rights. In a 400-page judgement the federal government failed to justify its infringements of these five nations. The judge gave the federal government one year to make changes to government policies. Not only is this an historic win for the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, but the court’s decision will affect all of B.C.’s First Nations as there are other First Nations in B.C. who are advocating for their fishing rights also.

Conservation will of course remain as a number one priority, but Indigenous fishing rights will effectively be put above those of sport fishing. According to the Federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the government has already been making steps by collaborating with Indigenous groups and stakeholders on the new agreement.

New Aboriginal fishing rights means new opportunities for growth for Aboriginal communities. The Uu-a-thluk Council of the Ha’wiih from Nuu-chah-nulth have made it a point to attract Nuu-chah-nulth youth to marine-based jobs and careers. The Uu-a-thluk staff and contractors have even created a manual and website devoted to show the many ways the Nuu-chah-nulth can continue to make a living in and around the ocean, which can be found at: http://www.uuathluk.ca/careermanual/

Here are a list of some of the industries and opportunities available for building not only building Aboriginal fishing for the Nuu-chah-nulth, but building a better future for the entire community.

  • Fishing and Harvesting – if you enjoy the outdoor and boats, you may enjoy harvesting seafood for long hours out on the water. Sometimes the work is seasonal. And if you own your own boat, gear and have some savvy business skills, it’s easy to get started.
  • Processing – this type of work involves cleaning, preparing, packaging, and inspecting seafood. Workers may be required to operate forklifts to cutting machines.
  • Management and Enforcement – you may spend a lot of time in boats or on land investing complaints for policing natural areas. It’s important to not only obey the laws protecting fish and wildlife, but you must understand them as well.
  • Aquaculture – unfortunately you probably won’t be asked to join the Justice League, but if you’re interested in growing fish and seafood for sale, this may be your version of an aquatic kingdom.
  • Marine Safety and Navigation – whether on land or sea, people who work for the Canadian Coast Guard may act as staff on board a ship, or may carry out daily operations from one of the regional offices either providing emergency communications or even working with rescue centres offering weather information and supporting government agencies.
  • Tourism and Recreation – this area offers a plethora of opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts such as being a guide, travel counselor, sales and service worker, front desk agent, boat operator or even a conference and event planner. Or maybe you enjoy preparing food, telling stories or just want to book transportation for guests. The opportunities are almost endless.
  • Marine Transportation – either on sea or on land, this type of work is related to moving cargo or passengers up and down the coast. You may like the idea of being the captain of your own ship, or perhaps an engineer working down in the engineer room, from cooks to deck hands there are many duties which need to be taken care of from day to day.
  • Fisheries Science – if you have a curious mind, you may want to explore a variety of subject from counting fish and studying life cycles, to what affects oceans and streams. You could find yourself working on a boat, SCUBA diving, teaching, travelling, or even just analyzing data on a computer. Ongoing education will be important, but the investment in yourself and the future will be priceless.
  • Marine Trades – if you enjoy working with your hands and being creative, then boat building or shipbuilding might be right for you. This type of work also involves mechanical and electrical repair, engine maintenance, and even working with fiber glass, aluminum and wood for hull repairs. You can choose to specialize in one particular area or become a jack-of-all-trades. You’ll never be bored.
  • Business Opportunities – perhaps you have some specialized skills and knowledge, this would be the perfect time to flex your entrepreneurial muscle. Self-sufficiency is a rewarding way to give back to your community and help the Five Nations become independent.
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