Usma commissions canoes for children in care

Port Alberni, BC

Dozens of Nuu-chah-nulth-aht and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council staff gathered at Maht Mahs parking lot Aug. 5 to hear an important announcement from Usma Nuu-chah-nulth Family & Child Services.

A white, fiberglass Nuu-chah-nulth-style canoe rested on a trailer. It served as a backdrop as Linus Lucas, with support from his mother Julia, offered up a prayer chant.

He announced that Usma had commissioned two canoes that will be used for children and youth in care. The canoes will allow them to participate in canoe journeys in 2022, giving them the opportunity to enrich their lives with Indigenous culture.

Lucas told Ha-Shilth-Sa that the white canoe is the first one here. They expect the second canoe to be delivered in September.

At that time, there will be another ceremony in which the canoes will be named and launched in the Somass River.

Elder Julia Lucas performed a prayer chant next to the canoe, asking that the Creator watch over the children that use the canoe, wherever they may go.

“These canoes will help people rediscover their roots,” said Linus.

Howard Morris performed a song that he composed. Lucas said that Morris gave the children in care permission to use the song as they go paddling. Lucas said the children will hopefully practice paddling on the Somass River, learning about canoes and their duties to properly care for the vessels and equipment.

The date for the canoe launching ceremony has yet to be announced.

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