Talking Stick – Fall 2018

Updates from Coast Funds


Welcome to the fall 2018 edition of Talking Stick. Published throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii, this newsletter explores conservation science, stewardship, sustainable development, and community well-being initiatives led by First Nations. Download the print issue: Talking Stick – Fall 2018.

This issue features the endeavours of two First Nations to strengthen the well-being of their communities. On north Vancouver Island, the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations are growing and diversifying their economy through the establishment of k̓awat̕si Economic Development Corporation. On the north coast, the Nisg̱a’a Nation have undertaken a multi-year study to ensure their cultural connection to oolichan, known as the saviour fish.

Projects like the two featured here make significant positive contributions to the communities in which they take place. In this issue we focus on how First Nations’ investments with Coast Funds in workforce development and skills training are empowering First Nations community members.

We are also pleased to take this opportunity to announce the election of Huux̱ (Percy Crosby) as chair of our board of directors. Percy has been a Coast Funds director since 2013, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to his new role. We look forward to Percy assuming this leadership role as the board continues to steward Coast Funds in its service of First Nations throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

We are honoured to present the stories First Nations are sharing in Talking Stick. If you’d like us to publish your story, please reach out to

Darcy Dobell
Communications Committee Chair

Brodie Guy
Executive Director

Stories from the Great Bear Rainforest

Reclaiming Control: How the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw are Determining their Economic Future

Through in-depth community consultations, the establishment of the k̓awat̕si Economic Development Corporation reinvigorated the economic heartbeat of a community. Read the Gwa’sala-‘Nakxwaxda’xw story. 

Chief Paddy Walkus Kwa'lilas
Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Chief Paddy Walkus speaks at the grand opening of Kwa’lilas Hotel. The hotel is just one of seven distinct businesses created by the Nations’ economic development corporation. Photo courtesy Kwa’lilas Hotel.

The Saviour Fish: Protecting Nisg̱a’a Connection to Oolichan

After Ḵ’alii Aksim Lisims (Nass River) oolichan were assessed as a species of special concern, the Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government undertook a multi-year research project that would protect their connection to the culturally important fish. Read the Nisg̱a’a story.

Saak (oolichan), the Nisg̱a’a Nation’s saviour fish, hang to dry at a camp along the Nass River. Photo by Brodie Guy.

Community Well-Being: Developing a Highly Skilled Workforce

First Nations are building community members’ skills, knowledge, and experience with on-the-job workforce development and applied training programs. With Coast Funds’ support, First Nations have led 342 initiatives that have trained 951 people and provided 13,329 training days. Projects like the k̓awat̕si Economic Development Corporation and the Nisga’a oolichan research program enable community members to meet the growing demand for skilled workers.

Learn more about workforce training and development initiatives led by First Nations’ initiatives are strengthening community well-being.

Download the Print Edition