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

Rotary Club launches Fernie wide scavenger hunt

The City Ramble Trail Scramble encourages participants to explore Fernie’s trails and streets

City of Fernie recycles old concrete

Hadean Aggregate Solutions was in Fernie for three days recycling old concrete and asphalt

MP Morrison pushes for accountability following federal fiscal update

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian says it is time to restart the economy

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

No changes coming to Fernie’s Second Avenue

Following a public survey, council holds off on repurposing Second Avenue

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Commercial huckleberry harvesting restricted in Kootenays

The province of B.C. has banned commercial-scale picking from July 15 to October 15

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Most Read