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Newsletter Masthead 1920 - Spring 2021 E
Table of Contents


Please select from the headings below to read articles in any section,

or feel free to scroll down at your leisure to access each article as it appears. 


Welcome Message

To the Malsgm Sa'winsk

Dear subscriber,


We welcome you again to the Malsgm Sa'winsk (Newspaper). This time, to our Spring 2021 Edition! We hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as you did our Winter Edition.


In this season's newsletter we are happy to share some amazing stories, inspiring insights and explore the various facets of community life and wisdom of the people.

We would love to hear any ideas for stories, community events and other newsworthy happenings that you may wish to share. 

Please click HERE to send us your stories, suggestions and feedback.

Wishing you healthy beginnings for a joyful spring season!

Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight


Prnce Rupert youth Brendan Eshom who grew up as part of Gitga'at First Nation has designed and launched an app called 'Sm’algyax Word'. It is a free application for mobile devices that promotes the learning of Sm'algyax. The app reached 'Top Charts' in the Apple App Stores. Check out an interview with Brendan here.

Voices of our Children & Youth
Community Gems
Atarah & Felix.jpg


Vickie & Paul Kennedy

It is our pleasure to share this story of previous foster caregivers, as they took a family of four siblings into their home in 2004 (three boys and one girl).  The children were very young when they went into care and were able to stay together until aging out of the system. The children’s ages were four, seven, nine and ten when they went to live with Vickie and Paul Kennedy.

The Kennedys had children of their own, they were a non-indigenous family and were running a business (Pacific Veterinary Clinic).  Their daughter who is a teacher and her husband helped with raising the children. When Vickie experienced challenges with her health, their daughter and her husband took two of the children into their home. Even then Vickie and Paul continued to take part in the children’s lives and maintained sibling visits and their family connection. They provided on-going updates to our agency with regards to the children's well-being, education, graduation and employment. The Kennedys only fostered the one family and they made sure that they were well cared for; they were great advocates for services/programs that were available for the children.

All four children graduated from high school, the young girl is now grown up and is married with one child. The Kennedys attended her wedding ceremony along with her siblings. The Kennedy family continues to stay in contact with the now-grown children and their families.

Interview with Atarah, one of the children who grew up with the Kennedys:

Atarah is now 27 years old and lives in Salmon Arm with her husband

and 9-month-old son. She loves her former foster parents and is grateful

for the stability, care and love she and her siblings received. She has given

NIFCS permission to use the photo of her and their baby; and this is what

she shared:

Atarah was placed into care with her three brothers when she was two

years old. Her brothers were at that time one, three and four years old

respectively. They have an older sister who was already in care (pre-teen

in group home). Atarah and her three siblings went into seven homes,

before they found their final home from which they aged out of government

care when they turned nineteen.

Atarah was seven years old when she and her siblings went to live with

Vicky and Paul Kennedy.  She feels that the kind of care, love and stability

they received contributed to their present successes such as having full-time

permanent jobs that pay well, the ability to own a home and raising a

happy and healthy family of their own.  They all graduated from high

school.  Her brothers still live in Prince Rupert. They have good jobs and

are doing well.

Atarah’s older sister also aged-out of care but sadly she was not as fortunate as her siblings in finding a home that provided the stability and security she needed. She did not graduate from school and has three children, all of whom she lost to the government system. They are placed far away from her in a non-family home, and she struggles with addictions. Atarah is grateful and happy that she and her other siblings were able to break generational challenges of addictions, homelessness, unemployment, etc. They are now doing what they can to help their older sister.


Atarah expressed that the Kennedys feel like a forever family. She continues to maintain close contact with the caregivers, their adult children and other extended family members.  They all attended her wedding, celebrated the birth of her baby and visit her occasionally. She keeps in touch with her siblings regularly and stays with her former caregivers when she visits. Her three brothers who live in Prince Rupert are still very connected with their former caregivers as well.

Positive takeaways from this success story:

All children and youth thrive in an environment of loving care, stability and the feeling of having a forever family. One that celebrates their life's milestones, like graduations, weddings, births, birthdays, and continues to visit them. NIFCS believes that this family felt secure to the siblings as it offered stability by providing a home that became their haven. Their caregivers did not give up on the children, which would have caused them to move from one home to the next and forcing them to separate.  With loving homes, children will achieve much better outcomes in the lives.

Frankie Angus.jpg


Frankie Angus

In this edition, we are chatting with Frankie Angus.

Frankie is a Youth Worker based in Gitxaała and enjoys working with the youth and children there.

He says they inspire him and he wishes to see them succeed in life.

Q: What is it that you like most about living in Gitxaała?

A: I like that everyone knows one another in community. Makes it easier for the community to come together to help each other whenever help is needed. Most times you do not have to ask for help. It is already there.


Q: What does it mean to be a part of community to you?

A: That each community member is there for one another when it is needed. Whether it's difficult times like loss of community members, or happy occasions like weddings.


Q: What is the most exciting thing in community that you like to do with your friends, family, or community workers?

A: I am most excited for the work that I do for our community. To see the laughter, smiles in the faces of our youth. I am happy and excited when the youth are having fun, and learning.


Q: If Gitxaała made the news, and was broadcasted on TV, what is it that should be shown on the TV that the world shall see?

A: The beautiful scenery in and around our community. Being isolated and away from the mainland has some advantages such as being able to see wildlife up and close.  Our land, our waters and our people are what I would imagine being on the news for the world to see.


Q: What is the most important thing about being a part of your community? Cultural activities, working for the community, accomplish school goals, enjoy the community activities, lead events, participate in events are examples. Feel free to share your own.

A: I am glad to have the opportunity to work with the youth, as a Youth Worker. Seeing the youth having fun and learning because they enjoy it makes me feel good. The youth love it it when I am engaged and participate with them in activities and that motivates me as well.

Q: Who are some people in your community that inspire you, when you are thinking of your future?

A: I have to say, again, that it is the youth who inspire me. My ardent wish is to see our youth succeed in their lives. That would be my goal for the future.

Staff Spotlight

NIFCS Staff Spotlight

Janice Davis

Please introduce yourself, traditional or non, you pick:​

MY name is Janice Davis my traditional name is Ksm Gibaaw, which translates to lady wolf.

What is your role at NIFCS?

My role at NIFCS is Program Assistant.

What was your very first job (In general)?

My first job with NIFCS was on-call admin assistant, back in 2010.


Describe how and when you came to NIFCS?

My sister Sharon called me one evening back in 2010, she asked what I was doing the next day, I said nothing. She asked, can you answer my phone for me, I said, uh sure, are you expecting an important phone call, she responded what do you mean, I said, can’t you just put on call forwarding to my house. And then she laughed and said, “Oh my gawd, I’m sorry, I meant can you answer phones at the NIFCS office?”, then I laughed and said OK. I remained on call until January 2011 and a part time position became available, via the BOD. I took on file manager role later in 2011. 

What is your favorite Dinosaur?


What is your biggest pet peeve?

People not getting my name right.

Most memorable moment from 2020?

Being grounded, 2020 COVID19, I have never been grounded before, I don’t like it.

What is your favorite chocolate bar?

I don’t really have a favorite; I am not a big chocolate bar fan. I don’t have a sweet tooth, I do like Kool-Aid Slurpee’s, when you can find them.

Do you have a favorite song?

Anything with a good beat, that you can dance to nothing heavy metal.

If you had an extra $200 to spend on anything, what would you buy?

I would pay a bill, I don’t know, new clothes?

Do you have any words of wisdom to offer youth who may be considering your profession?

Graduate from High School. take any training that comes up, that will make you a better-rounded person. Stop saying I can’t, turn it into I can!  If you are feeling nervous or scared, take a deep breath, and move forward.  Life is full of lessons, if you make a mistake, learn from what you did wrong, fix it and carry on. And you are never too old to learn new things, I am 50+ and I’m still learning new ways to make work and life better. And lastly, never be too hard on yourself, remember that everyone we work with, live with, and learn from, we are all human and no one is perfect!


Are you a cat, dog, or bird person?

Dogs, even the ugly ones, I think they’re ugly cute. I like cats and birds as well.


If you could pick your birthday dinner, what would you chose?

Seafood, all different kinds of seafood.

Doreen McKay

Please introduce yourself, traditional or non, you pick.

My name is Doreen McKay. My traditional name is Hax Kwin naax. I don't know the proper spelling but it means 'Fins all around'. I am Nisgaa/ Tsimshian (Greenville/P. Simpson) from Killer Whale tribe House of Niis Qus.

What is your role at NIFCS?

I am admin support.

What was your very first job (In general)?

My very first job ever, I was a dishwasher

at Salvation Army Camp Mountain View. Next two following years I was a camp counsellor. Fave job ever.​

Describe how and when you came to NIFCS?

My father passed away from cancer so I moved home to be close to my mom, family and friends. I was job hunting and received a call from Rachel Hewer.

What is your favorite Dinosaur?

I don't know dinosaurs, so I don't have one. My fave animals are owls and elephants. 

What is your biggest pet peeve?

At the moment my biggest pet peeve is people who mock other for wearing a mask. I wear a mask, not only for myself but to give others peace of mind that I consider their health as well.


Most memorable moment from 2020?

My niece and her two babies moved home.


What is your favorite chocolate bar?

Not picky, not really into chocolate anymore? Fave fruit is pineapple.

Do you have a favorite song?

A Beautiful War by Kings of Leon. I have a vision to incorporate this song into traditional language and tell a story of 'Our Nation' taking back our people from addiction war.

If you had an extra $200 to spend on anything, what would you buy?

Stuff for my daughters. Fun little nicknacks.

Do you have any words of wisdom to offer youth who may be considering your profession?

Don't quit school, even if you don't know what you want to do. Keep learning. Learning is a life long journey.

Are you a cat, dog, or bird person?

I am a cat person 100%.

If you could pick your birthday dinner, what would you chose?

Appy smorg and good company.

Drawing of Cat
Culture & History


The Whale Stories
Ocean Bounty.jpg

Wisdom from our Elders

Story psd.jpg


Ama sah da txa niis nuusm (good day everybody!)


My name is Dm syl haaytk gyibaaw, English name is Emily Bryant, and I am from Kitsumkalum and Lax Kw’alaams. My parents are Sharon and Darryl Bryant, Grandparents are Vera and Charles Henry and Beatrice and Herbert Bryant. I come from a very culturally strong upbringing and I feel like my journey has just begun!


From traditional singing and dancing with my parents since I was a little girl in grade 2, learning my language in nursery and kindergarten (also hearing my grandparents speak), growing up in a seaweed camp, to understanding our feast house protocols. It took me a long time to circle back to my language and singing, and I am here. I am ready. And I am excited.


I am currently learning about our creation stories and it has already propelled me into this beautiful space of identity, belonging, and connections to my past, present and future. I was always curious about our stories, how did we come to be as Tsimshian people, our land, our world. I came to learn quite quickly that it is not only one story but MANY intertwined.


T'oyaxsut nuun Dm Gawsm Gwa, (Thank you) for sharing your stories with me. This was one the best phone calls I have had with my uncle, ever. It was recorded for me and him, and as I listened to him share our adaawx and hearing about my grandfather, I cried. I felt more connected to my ya’as Herbert Bryant who passed away in 2014. My ya’as shared these stories with his children. This is what I have seen my uncle Sam do for many years within schools, museums, within our family, and to his kids and grandkids. This is what I hope to do.


With that, here is a little creation story of why the tides rise and fall. From me and my bi’ip Samson Bryant, his traditional name is Dm gawsm gwa.







So this is how we know where our abundance of seafood is! This is how we know about clams and cockles (I crave gaboox always! “cockles”).


We thrive from our waters and our fisherman, harvesters, and gatherers.

T’oyaxsut nuusm (thank you all). I look forward to being able to share more as I learn about our stories piece by piece!


Aam goot,


Dm Syl Haaytk Gibau


FunTastic Activities


Puzzle Me This!


Love crossword puzzles?

Our puzzle specialist Ocean Georgelin has created a new puzzle in Sm’algyax for the spring edition of our newsletter! Thank you Ocean!

Are you up for a challenge?

Click below for this fun and delightful puzzle.


Top Secret


There is a SECRET WORD

concealed within this newsletter.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it,

is to put on your Sherlock hat and find it!


In the box below you will find pointers & clues:

(pointers tell you where to go; clues tell you where to find each letter)

There are 6 letters in the Secret Word.

When you combine them according to the

sequence below, you will uncover the Secret Word.


Submit your Secret Word and enter the

$100 Gift Card Draw!

Three winners will be drawn from the pool of correct submissions. Simply email your answer to: 

by April 10 2020




01. Pointer -> You are what you read! Clue: Fourth letter in the name of this newsletter.

02. Pointer -> When Something Must be Kept Hidden! Clue: The third letter in the name of this activity.

03. Pointer -> Get to know her! Clue: Third letter of the first name of one of the two NIFCS staff in this section.

04. Pointer -> Savory Seaweed! Clue: This letter appears twice in the title of this section of the newsletter.

05. Pointer -> Fly like and eagle! Clue: Third letter of the third word in the title of this section of the newsletter.

06. Pointer -> Good Ideas! Clue: This letter appears twice in the title of this section in Sm’algyax.


Relishous Recipes




by Roxanne &  Cyril Aster

Seaweed generally grows on rocks under the water.  You can only pick seaweed in April and May during low tides.

Growing up, I was told how to pick the seaweed. They said to pull hard like you are pulling something heavy out of the water. Once you have pulled it out from the rock, you put the seaweed in rice sacks and carry around as you look for more. 

To preserve the seaweed, we dry them on red cedar boards or we dry them on the big flat rocks. Once the seaweed is dry you can also chop it on a big block of a tree or you can freeze them.

How to cook the seaweed? After it has been dried, put a small pot or frying pan on the stove and put about half of the pot full of cooking oil let the cooking oil get hot. You will know when the oil is hot enough when you put a piece of the flat seaweed in the oil and it has bubbles around the seaweed. You put the seaweed in and turn it right away and take it right out. Serve with rice.

The pictures and videos provided here will show how this is done.


Picking seaweed and drying them on the rocks.


Cyril & Roxanne Aster


Chopped seaweed can be boiled with clams, or eaten with

rice and grease.

Wetting seaweed with saltwater then stacking the squares in layers and using jowees leaves to make sure they don't stick together.


Chopping a pressed together seaweed 'block'

and a picture of seaweed tools (choppers).

How to quick fry seaweed.

Over the Horizon


Community Lighthouse


Aerial views of the progress of Kitselas, Kitsumkalum & Haisla Lighthouses

Wings of an Eagle


In this edition we are showcasing brief aerial videos of Lax Kwa'laams and Kitselas. We plan to highlight more of such videos in each upcoming edition of this newsletter. Stay tuned! If you received this newsletter without subscribing (indirectly from someone besides NIFCS) and wish to receive a copy directly from us, please subscribe HERE

Lax Kw'alaams


Health & Wellness


Coping with Covid
Image by Sam Moqadam

The Best Vaccine for You Is the One Available to You Right Now

A message from Dr. Shannon McDonald, Acting Chief Medical Officer 

(Article from First Nations Health Authority)

While there’s been a lot of media speculation about which vaccine is the most effective, experts are clear: the best vaccine for you is the one available to you right now!  

Despite the publicized vaccine efficacy rates that seem to indicate large differences between vaccines, there is little to support that one vaccine is overall better than another one. What is clear is that delaying your injection in hopes of getting a vaccine you think might be better only leaves you and others unnecessarily at risk of contracting COVID-19. All of this while infection rates remain high and are at risk of heading up again.  

The fact is, comparing the efficacy rates for different vaccines is like comparing apples to oranges. That’s because fairly large differences in apparent effectiveness can result from even small differences in each study’s design, including its:

• enrollment criteria, e.g., enrolling only younger, healthier people

• end-points, e.g., having different definitions of severe illness

• location/timing, e.g., having different predominant strains and infection rates 

The only way to determine true differences in vaccine effectiveness is to do head-to-head comparisons – that is, to test all of the vaccines under the same study protocol, in the same place, at the same time. 

While we don’t know if one vaccine is better, we do know that all of the vaccines currently available in Canada have been shown to be excellent in preventing severe illness and death. For example, AstraZeneca, which showed an overall efficacy in medical trials of 62 per cent against contracting COVID-19, also showed 100 per cent effective at preventing severe illness and death. All of the vaccines have been shown to be very safe both in clinical trials and during real-world use, which in many cases number in the millions of doses provided.

What’s more, all of the vaccines have been shown to have effectiveness against the current variants of concern, although they may be more effective against the original virus. Emerging evidence also indicates vaccines help to prevent transmission, or spread from person to person. 

So, while no vaccines provide 100 per cent protection, all vaccines provide a better level of protection against COVID-19 than not getting a vaccine at all, or delaying getting your vaccine when you have an opportunity to get one. 

Getting your vaccine as soon as you can will not only prevent you from getting ill, it will also prevent further variants of concern from developing, and will help us all to achieve ”community immunity” sooner.  This means we will be able to get back to being with the people we love and doing the things we love to do, which is something we can all look forward to! We are almost there; keep up the good work!

Note: All NIFCS staff have volunteered to be vaccinated.

Ideas & Suggestions




The success of a community is dependent on the success of each of its members.

Your ideas and suggestions are an important part for the betterment of community life.


We invite you to share your thoughts on

how we can improve the lives of community members as well as the services provided by NIFCS. Please click the link below to visit the AMA SIG̱OOTG (GOOD IDEAS) page to submit your proposal. While there, you can can also learn about the reward and recognition program for ideas that are successfully implemented.

Reader's Corner



Woman Reading
Girl Reading on Bed

Welcome to NIFCS’ new section for the Newsletter:  “Reader’s Corner”. 

Each season we will highlight books (of different genres, staff picks, community recommended books, etc) written by Indigenous Authors.  If you have a book written by an Indigenous Author that you would highly recommend, please feel free to share your review so that others can also enjoy that book.

Book: The Marrow Thieves

Author: Cherie Dimaline

Reviewed by: Rachel Hewer

Recently I read the book called “The Marrow Thieves” by Cherie Dimaline


Cherie Dimaline is a member of the Georgian Bay Metis Community in Ontario.  Cherie has published five books as well as contributed to other literary projects and is the founder and organizer of the “Annual Indigenous Writers’ Gathering”.  In addition to this Cherie is the founding editor of “FNV Magazine” and “Muskrat Magazine”, two indigenous focused publications.


The Marrow Thieves is set in a future where climate change has created a new landscape and a future where dreams have become a hot commodity.  Only the Indigenous people seem to have the ability to dream.  Because of this, Recruiters are sent to hunt down the Indigenous people, many of whom have taken refuge in the forest, as the cure to the lost dreams is believed to be in their bone marrow.  Beyond the thrill of the hunt and the hiding, this book serves as a cautionary tale for climate change and for our lost culture and language.  Although this is a novel for Young Adults, I enjoyed the storyline and would recommend reading this book. 


Interested? Purchase the Novel Here:

BOD Message


Messages for You
From Kathleen Bennett, Executive Director, NIFCS.

Thank you for reading the Malsgm Sa'winsk, a newsletter that aims to

capture and share engaging, inspiring and enlightening news about

the people, and the communities that NIFCS serves.

I hope you found the content entertaining and informative. We aim to

have a little something for every reader! My personal special (among

many) in this edition is the powerful story of how caregivers can provide

lifelong affirmation to children brought under their care, by consciously

letting love guide their journey and becoming a forever family for

children even after they leave care at age nineteen. If you have not

already visited that story, simply click HERE.

This is also special week for the recognition of the important work and

services that Social Workers provide communities across the country. I “raise my hands“ in gratitude and salute

all of the NIFCS social workers, practitioners, clinicians, front-line teams family support workers, youth workers,

team leaders and managers who have worked diligently and tirelessly to promote the best interest of children,

youth, families and communities.   

Usually, the agency would celebrate Social Worker Week by taking them out for a meal, however this year

we decided to broaden the celebration to include the entire agency at an all-staff virtual gathering. The reason

being the challenging time we are all going through as we deal with the COVID -19 Pandemic. This situation

has taxed us to the limit and has taught us to rely on each other for collaboration, partnerships, and cooperation to help ourselves, our families, and each person that we work with daily. 

On behalf of myself and the NIFCS governing body - the Board of Directors - we lift each and everyone of you

up, we honor you, your work, and the values of caring, love, compassion, and dedication that you exemplify.

We celebrate you dearly, through the course of your social work and will continue to hold you up as you serve

the precious children, youth, families, and communities in our care.

I sincerely thank you for the work you do, which is perfectly aligned with the Vision and Mission of our agency:

“Healthy Children, Healthy Families, Healthy Communities."

ET Message


Dear Reader, 

We hope you enjoyed reading the spring edition of Malsgm Sa'winsk. We were thrilled and inspired by the positive responses we received from readers for the inaugural edition last December.


With your support and readership we hope to keep providing you with a newsletter that provides meaningful content in an engaging way. As always, we welcome any ideas and suggestions that you may have to help us continually improve the quality and content of the Malsgm Sa'winsk

The contributors for this Spring Edition of the newsletter are:

  • Colin Angus

  • Emily Bryant

  • Roxxane & Cyril Aster

  • Ocean Georgelin

  • Kathleen Bennett

Our sincere thanks to all of you for your excellent effort to source or write material that engages the reader's heart, mind, and spirit. This is especially challenging given the restrictions that are in place due to the pandemic. Regardless, you have outdone yourself!

We would like to also thank our readers, for subscribing to the newsletter (if you have not done so, please click HERE to subscribe) and for supporting this publication. Please share it with your family and friends. We have exciting content in the works for the next edition, with more fun contests, awesome giveaways and useful information! 

With that, we would like to wish you a wonderful spring season. 

Stay safe, stay happy!  

The Editorial Team

Rachel Hewer - Sharon Bryant - Mamie Lawson - Kristen McKay - Armaan Ratra -

Sean Segran 

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