Aaron Watts of Tseshaht First Nation sings a song to remember Chantel Moore during a vigil at Haahuupayak School on Thursday, June 4. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

More than 100 people gathered at a vigil near Port Alberni on Thursday night to remember the life of a Tla-o-qui-aht woman who lost her life at the hands of police.

Chantel Moore, who used to reside in Port Alberni, was fatally shot by police in Edmundston, New Brunswick in the early morning hours on Thursday, June 4 after officers were called to check on her wellbeing.

The Edmundston Police Force has stated that Moore was holding a knife and making threats.

Moore’s family has stated that Moore was shot five times, although this detail has not been confirmed by police.

READ MORE: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police

The vigil on Thursday evening, which took place at Haahuupayak School, was organized by Myra Mack of Tseshaht First Nation.

“I never knew her personally, but she was a friend to many,” Mack explained.

Aaron Watts of Tseshaht First Nation opened the vigil by offering his condolences for Chantel’s family.

“All of Tseshaht is grieving with you,” he said on Thursday.

This is the second evening in a row that Tseshaht First Nation has gathered for songs and healing. On Wednesday, the community came together to offer forgiveness after an incident of racism that targeted First Nations on the Tseshaht reserve.

READ MORE: Racist incident shocks Tseshaht First Nation

READ MORE: Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

“I like the way we’ve been practicing,” said Watts. “In the face of ugliness, we come together. In the face of sorrow, we come together. This is true medicine, what we have right here.”

Members of multiple Nuu-chah-nulth nations came together to share songs and prayers throughout the evening. They also shared their experiences of racism. Moore’s death takes place at a time when people across Canada and the United States are taking to the streets to protest racism and police brutality.

“We’re fighting for our rights, we’re fighting for our freedom,” said Watts. “We’re fighting for the right to be equal. We’re now in a place where our people are literally dying at alarming rates.”

READ MORE: Port Alberni residents gather to protest racism

Martin Watts, another member of Tseshaht First Nation, explained that Moore had moved to Port Alberni from Campbell River to “make a better life for herself” and make new friends.

“And look how many friends she made,” he said, gesturing to the crowd.

He explained that Moore had moved again to New Brunswick to be with her five-year-old daughter, Gracie, and her mother.

A donation box at the vigil raised more than $1,000 for Moore’s Tla-o-qui-aht family, some of whom are planning to travel to New Brunswick to practice traditional Nuu-chah-nulth grieving protocols. A GoFundMe had raised more than $40,000 as of Thursday night.

“They still need a little bit of help,” said Martin Watts. “So share that GoFundMe, help where you can. Show support, show the love, let people know you care for them.”

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council released a statement on Thursday, calling for immediate action in an independent investigation.

“The family and community of Chantal needs answers as to why she was shot on a health check by the police,” stated the release. “Justice must not wait and every power must be exerted to ensure that justice is served in an appropriate, immediate, and respectful way.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Kevin Titian (in white) speaks, remembering Chantel Moore, during a vigil at Haahuupayak School on Thursday, June 4. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

PLACE NAMES: Sourdough Alley

Rossland’s earliest thoroughfare was once derided as a ‘muddy collection of shacks’

Cannings: Nuclear waste regulations put Canadians at risk

Richard Cannings is in his second term as MP for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding

Howie Fishwick Memorial Scholarship

Crowe grad and Rosebowl Award winner Carollynn Ballarin is a Howie Fishwick Scholarship recipient

Groups lobby for environmental assessment of Teck coal mine

“Castle would extract even more coal than has been mined at the original Fording River mine”

Creston’s annual fall fair cancelled due to COVID-19

The event brings in many producers and tourists to the town

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Ottawa jail inmates argue anti-COVID measures a breach of charter rights

The prisoners allege guards did not wear masks until April 25

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

US unemployment falls to 11%, but new shutdowns are underway

President Donald Trump said the jobs report shows the economy is “roaring back”

Most Read