Nuu-chah-nulth fishermen confronted while food fishing at Tahsis

By Debora Steel, September 7, 2016

The front window was smashed on John Amos' car after an incident during a food fishing trip on Canton River at Tahsis yesterday.

 

Tahsis — 

Update: On Sept. 13, Ha-Shilth-Sa contacted the Nootka Detachment of the RCMP for an update on the progress being made on the investigation into this incident.

Cst. Walker told us that this has become a priority file with the six members of the detachment, as well as an outside agency, which is actively seeking the vehicle and watching for it on area roads.

The RCMP has been in Tahsis every day since the incident, he said. This is an ongoing investigation.

Original Story

RCMP are investigating a racially-charged incident that occurred yesterday at the edge of Canton River near Tahsis when Nuu-chah-nulth fishermen were confronted by two non-Native men unhappy the group was out food fishing in the area.

The two men are alleged to have uttered death threats, spewed racial remarks and foul language, and then are suspected of smashing the front windows of two of the fishermen’s vehicles before they sped back into town.

Chief Dan Savey of the Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nations Council of Chiefs told Ha-Shilth-Sa he was out with five others when the men threatened them. Chief Savey did not wish to get into details about the incident while it was under police investigation and charges against the men were considered.

John Amos confirmed the incident, saying he had just pulled in a fish when the men approached and started to raise their voices, swearing at the fishermen and calling them derogatory names. It began at about 7:20 p.m., Amos said, and lasted about 30 minutes. The fishermen worked to ignore the abuses being hurled at them, he told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

Amos said he could see that the young fishermen with the group were scared, especially when one of the men threatened to ‘pick them off, one by one.’ John said he started to think about his wife and kids.

The two men on the bridge left for their cars. Then the fishermen heard, smash, smash. When Savey and Amos investigated, their vehicles’ front windows were shattered.

The police were called and an officer from the Nootka detachment came out to take a statement. Amos said the officer understood that the fishermen were in their own traditional territory and allowed to fish for food and ceremonial purposes there.

A description of the two men and their vehicle has been provided to the RCMP, who confirmed to Ha-Shilth-Sa that they were called about the incident last night and were back in Tahsis today to continue their investigation.

Amos has called for calm, telling community members, who were up in arms about the incident, that the police were handling the situation. He told Ha-Shilth-Sa that everyone got home safely, and nobody got hurt, and that he was grateful for the RCMP’s help.