Documentary about Huu-ay-aht First Nations to debut on CHEK tonight at 8 p.m.

Documentary about Huu-ay-aht First Nations to debut on CHEK tonight at 8 p.m.

A documentary film about a Vancouver Island First Nation will makes its debut tonight on CHEK.

The film has been screened at seven film festivals around North America.

It documents a pivotal time for the Huu-ay-aht.

More than a decade ago, the First Nation, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, signed a treaty with the Canadian and B.C. governments.

Now the Huu-ay-aht are forging a new path to make their territory a place for all members of the nation to call home.

“Our ultimate goal is to make our people’s lives better. No matter where they live but more specifically we want to create a community where our people choose to live in our territory, specifically with our community,” said John Jack, an elected Huu-ay-aht councillor.

Nearly 85 per cent of Huu-ay-aht citizens live away from their territory but the nation’s leadership knows it needs jobs to bring people home.

In 2014, Steelhead LNG proposed building a multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas plant on the nation’s lands.

Despite getting the green light from the nation’s members Steelhead paused worked on the project in 2019 citing challenging economic conditions for getting funding.

“When we looked at LNG, our people, our hereditary leaders and our elected government all agreed that LNG was an opportunity worth looking into and it’s a pity it didn’t work out,” said Jack.

So now the nation is trying to find new economic opportunities, beyond logging, that will move the nation forward.

“Balancing our traditional values, our history and our identity with the requirements of our people in a modern age and all of the challenges that come with it,” said Jack.

That’s the challenge Director Brandon Thompson says is at the centre of the film titled  waa?ši?a?in (Coming Home).

“Where they’re going and really their goal of bringing people home. the complex challenges that government faces when they’re trying to present the opportunities and the quality of life that other Canadians take for granted,” said Thompson of Munro Thompson Communications.

The film has been screened at seven film festivals and picked up several awards.

“What caught us the most off guard was the level of engagement when we were at the festivals. How interested people were in asking questions. They really were taken by the story and wanting to learn more,” said Thompson.

The Huu-ay-aht are carving out their own path and sharing their story while doing it.

waa?s?i?a?in (Coming Home) will air live on CHEK TV and stream at at 8 pm.

The live broadcast will be hosted at Alberni Secondary School.

It’s free to attend but the theatre could fill up.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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