Candidates in alphabetical order: John Schooner, Samuel Schooner, Terry Webber and current chief Wally Webber

Candidates for Nuxalk Chief outline their platforms

The Nuxalk elections take place on Sunday, March 17

Candidates are featured in alphabetical order

John Schooner

What do you feel makes you the right candidate?

My purpose in running for Chief is to continue empowering Cultural Leadership. My vision is to build job security and job enhancement. My hope is to have job creation to give our community financial security. At the same time enhance our land base; to expand our Reserve Land for future Nuxalk Home Owners.

What would you say are the most pressing issues facing the community?

I would like to be an advocate to contact AANDC to secure more funding for Social Assistance. Our community cannot survive inflation costs with the amount of money that is currently distributed.

What do you feel can be done in regards to the lack of housing?

I will contact organizations for Mortgages that may be distributed to Reserve Land. My goal is to secure funding for any Nuxalk Member to have the opportunity to build their own house; detailed to the preference of the homeowner. If elected, I will share my knowledge with the proper staff members to apply for Renovation and Handicapped Funds.

In closing, I would love to continue creating more buildings and activities for our youth. I would start the process of applying funds to Expand our Community Hall; New College Building; and at Acwsalcta High School.

Samuel Schooner

What do you feel makes you the right candidate?

I have been a leader in governance with four years of experience on Nuxalk Council, and four years with the Central Coast Regional District. I have experience in managing the economic development portfolio and has also been involved in forestry, housing, education, training, and community wellness. I would like to see the development of my people to manage major infrastructure projects. My strengths are strategic thinking, problem solving, connections for fund development, and asserting the rights and title of the Nuxalk peoples. I have developed crucial relationships with key government officials whom share updates for new funding, and he’d like to share that with the Nuxalkmc to maximize grants and opportunities.

What would you say are the most pressing issues facing the community?

• Housing, economic development, assisted living for our Elders, child/youth and family development, community wellness: social, emotional, mental and physical

• Clean energy projects

• Water works and solid waste management

• Flooding issues and river maintenance

• Forestry management

• Design and develop our Local Education Agreement with School District 49 so that we inform how the school works in reconciliation, honours the Nuxalk way of being and knowing, and ensures student success

What do you feel can be done in regards to the lack of housing?

Indigenous peoples of Canada are the fastest growing demographic and the Nuxalkmc are growing immensely, we need approximately 300 houses to meet our members’ needs. Some argue that we have a housing crisis. In the face of crisis, let’s consider the related factors, we are lacking usable space within our two reserves, BC Hydro may lack the capacity to support the power needs for growth we require, we need to resource our own timber for homes, we need houses that can withstand the moist environment, and many families live under the poverty level preventing them from building and maintaining a home.

I’m aware that these issues require creative and innovative approaches. Organizations and housing initiatives and studies have already been done. He would assert that discussions and solutions need to be pursued in partnership with the provincial and federal governments. The Nuxalkmc are not responsible for solving this on their own, our governments must make commitments to us. These solutions should include social and affordable housing. BC Housing has $565 million to be spent over ten years, we must assert our housing crisis for tangible solutions, appropriate resources, and homes built in a timely way.

Terry Webber

What do you feel makes you the right candidate?

What I bring to the table is determination, ambition, and someone who will stand for the Nation and emphasizes on working in unity with Council with a strong working relationship with the Nuxalk Hereditary Chiefs. I also served a term as Elected Councillor in 2011-2013.

What would you say are the most pressing issues facing the community?

Communication at a Chief & Council and Administration to all Nuxalkmc on reserve, off reserve and out of town needs to be improved. Using today’s technology and current forms of communication, I would like to see direct communication to on-reserve, within the valley and out of town Nuxalkmc. Updating where we are as a nation in terms of on-going/upcoming projects, department updates, upcoming events and occasions. I see many other communities providing Press Releases when sensitive issues are in play, for example Mining proposed by Goliath Resources Limited.

Looking after our elders, by building a care home run and operated by our nurses. Time and time again, our elders are forced to leave the valley to live in a care home. We as a Nation, are fully equip to build, manage and run a Care home with our leaders in business, dedicated Care Nurses and crafty construction crew.

Uplifting our future. I would like to see more resources available to our youth. Structured yet consistent activities, events and programs planned throughout the year, utilizing our vast territory by canoeing, medicine picking, sledding/skiing, rod fishing, reaching the peaks of our mountains, etc. Our youth need to be more engaged, to feel appreciated, to be acknowledged, to know we stand and support them in their endeavors as future leaders of our Nation.

Supporting our Nuxalk Volunteer Fire Department. They work tirelessly, dedicating their time and life to save our people. Advocating for upgrades in equipment, safety gear, communication devices and vehicular support is past due for our frontline hero’s.

I’d like to see our relationship with SD49 strengthened with a seat at SD49 Board with intentions to advocate to the Ministry of Education on improvements on the delivery and funding of Indigenous education.

Working with and including Hereditary Chiefs in decision making. For example, Stewardship of our lands and waters, the unwanted mining proposed project, marking our Villages throughout Nuxalk Territory.

Working with Patient Care Quality office to address complaints of the services provided by Vancouver Coastal Health and working towards a seat at the Vancouver Coastal Health Board of Directors. I have done some research, only one nation is represented at that Board.

What do you feel can be done in regards to the lack of housing?

Housing has been an issue for a very long time. We are in such a crisis, that we need to dig deep, knock on every Government door from Provincial to Federal. Also, I see we need to strengthen our own economy by creating work for our people which will allow our people to utilize the opportunities with Royal Bank loans to build houses on reserve. When we strive as an economy, we strive as a people.

Wally Webber

What do you feel makes you the right candidate?

I don’t think its about being the right candidate, it’s about how we can move Nuxalk people forward. The Hereditary Chiefs, council , and administration are all working together to move the nation forward.

We are looking into the future so that our people can hold up their heads high and be proud Nuxalkmc.

What would you say are the most pressing issues facing the community?

The most pressing issues are getting our nation to a healthy place, this includes housing, wellness health, jobs etc. the administration staff are well on the way doing this. This takes time,and a lot of hard work.

What do you feel can be done in regards to the lack of housing?

The housing has been in crisis for a lot of years , the council and administration are working hard on rebuilding our housing. We are using both the Indian Affairs funding but we are also looking at banks to build more housing. The Nation is also building two more triplex apartments. Good luck to the other candidates.

Think out of the box, be positive, let’s move forward.

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