A key graffito in Masset. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

A key graffito in Masset. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Tlellagraph: Trying to be political on Haida Gwaii

By Janet Rigg


verb derogatory

gerund or present participle: politicking

1. engage in political activity.”news of this unseemly politicking invariably leaks into the press

Oh what a layered world we live in here on Haida Gwaii. Gina ‘waadxan gud ad kwaagid — everything depends on everything, all things are connected.

I think it’s a feature of getting older. Suddenly you realize that it’s just people, people as flawed, as informed, or simply as curious as you are who are running the show. Nowhere is that more apparent than here. We know everyone from various angles, different boards, different committees, as a parent of another kid in my kid’s class — we are like a house of mirrors here on Haida Gwaii. Our perspectives leave little room to hide.

Perhaps this is what makes civic duty so challenging here. You cannot just be a public persona, two dimensions of a carefully crafted image. Someone always has a view from behind the scenes, and that leaves you particularly vulnerable to perceptions going awry.

Our interwoven threads can lead to some terrible tangles. It would seem that one area that has experienced a rough journey is the school board for District 50. A new board is about to get elected that will look vastly different from the board of the last four years. Only one board member will remain the same.

Many adjectives have been bandied around to describe the exiting board. Was it chaos and blatant disregard for process? Or was it revolutionary? It might surprise you to know that my opinion leans closer to the latter than the former. Sometimes change has to come in uncomfortable lurches when the moment is right.

My husband has thrown his name into the hat — running in Charlotte, as your duty as a school trustee is to the whole district, and not any one community. He’s stepping up to a difficult plate, but is doing so because he believes that some tough decisions are going to have to be made over the next four years. How do you balance tough decisions with meaningful public consultation? It’s a question that not even the federal government is able to answer at the moment. I’m hoping Roeland has the answer.

His move into civic life inspired me, as I watched the nominations for trustee positions roll in. Simultaneously an email came to my attention calling for volunteers to be on the Central Graham Island Advisory Committee for Gwaii Trust.

Perhaps it was the lack of music festival duties at the moment that lulled me into thinking I had time to Do Something Else, but I signed up. And then I discovered that there is some serious politicking afoot around the adoption of the new Gwaii Trust constitution and bylaws.

These new bylaws and constitution have to be in position for the society to be in accordance with the new BC Societies Act. We had to do the same revisions for the Edge of the World Music Festival Society. Gwaii Trust has until the end of November to comply.

So what are the issues? They are far too complex for the scope of this column. And the advisory committee that I’ve found myself on, with the lovely Elizabeth Condrotte and Port Clements council members, may be pivotal to how this all unfolds. So I think it best to not paint an unclear picture for you.

But Tlell now has a voice, and I believe that all the island communities need to have a voice that is equal to the one next to it. In a nutshell, the issue before Gwaii Trust is how all island voices are heard.

And it has resulted in a cacophony. If you’d like to add your voice to the chorus, email me at sewnart@haidagwaii.net.