In June 2008 three separate meetings took place on the West Coast (District of Ucluelet, Tin Wis - Tofino and Ahousaht – Flores Island) to gather community perspectives on a Central West Coast Dual-Language Literacy Plan. This plan included five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations and two municipalities. The communities represented were: Hot Spring Cove (Hesquiaht First Nation), Ahousaht (Ahousaht First Nation), Opitshat and Esowista (Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation), Ittatsoo (Ucluelet First Nation), Macoah (Toquaht First Nation), and the Tofino and Ucluelet Municipalities.
Norine Messer (Make Children First Coordinator/Coastal Family Resources Coalition Facilitator), Perry B. Perry (Assistant, Literacy Plan Launch) and Lori Walker (Program Manager, 2010 Legacies Now/Literacy) organized and facilitated the three meetings. In addition to these meetings, two band councils and the people of Hot Springs Cove were also presented with the literacy plan’s initiatives and goals. From the feedback gathered it was apparent that sufficient interest existed to move forward with a letter of intent to Literacy Now. The letter of intent indicated the desire to develop a Dual-Language Literacy Plan to support both English and Nuu-chah-nulth.
In September 2008 acceptance was granted from Literacy Now for the Dual Language Plan. The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) was/is the Steward of the $20,000 awarded, and Theresa Gereluk was hired as the Literacy Outreach Coordinator in October 2008. Operating on 17 hours per week, Theresa’s goal was to visit each of the communities and develop a Regional Literacy Plan that reflected and supported the uniqueness of each community and their individual priorities.
The Coastal Family Resource Coalition supported the initiative by acting as a Secondary Task Force. A smaller sub-committee comprising of Norine Messer, Jennifer Auld, Gertrude Touchie, Sarah Spencer, Eleanor Gee and Carol Martin took the Lead Role of the Dual-Language Literacy Plan Task Force. The members of this task force represented each of the participating communities as well as key community stakeholders. Presently, the named Sub-Committee Task Force members remain in position, with future community representatives to be included from three more communities.
The Dual-Language Literacy Plan was developed through interactive community meetings, small group/focus meetings, interviews, and phone/email consultations.
This plan reflects the convergence of communities, perspectives and people. Heartfelt gratitude comes to each of you for your time, suggestions, ideas, hopes and dreams.