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)

Just Posted

(BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO)
Nanaimo man killed in Highway 4 crash

RCMP say dirt bike turned ‘suddenly’ into traffic

Subject to successful grant funding, the City of Parksville will enter into an agreement with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island to operate a full complement of child, youth and family community services at the Parksville Community Centre in 2021. (BGCCVI photo)
City of Parksville to work with Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island

Mayor: “There is a critical shortage of childcare spaces in Parksville”

Cathy Stewart is currently the featured artist at the Qualicum Art and Supply Gallery, through the end of October. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Artist Cathy Stewart has paintings on display at two Qualicum Beach exhibits

‘With patience and determination you can do anything’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Nanaimo RCMP arrest man with axe in downtown park. (File photo)
Man seen with axe at Nanaimo park, numerous RCMP officers respond

Incident happened Friday evening at Maffeo Sutton Park

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read