In January of 1991 I wrote a letter to Ms Janice Cochrane, Regional Director of the D.I.A., stating that Ditidaht Indian Act band has no authority over the Qwa-Ba-Diwa people, their lands and/or their resources.
In August of 1991 I told Art Mernett, Consultant for the Ditidaht Indian Act band, that the Qwa-Ba-Diwa people had a Land Claim in Courts and that the resources of the Qwa-Ba-Diwa people should not be included in any dealings with the non-native federal and provincial governments.
In October of 1991 I wrote a letter to Tom Scott, Lands & Resources In Trust, putting D.I.A. on notice that the First Nation of Qwa-Ba-Diwa had appointed Bruce Clark as their Agent and further restating the fact that the Ditidaht Indian Act band has no authority over the Qwa-Ba-Diwa people and that any agreement made with the Ditidaht Indian Act band would be deemed to be non-existent and therefore invalid as regarding Carmanah.
All except one of the surviving Qwa-Ba-Diwa people approached signed a petition stating:
1. I am a member of the First Nation of Qwa-Ba-Diwa.The only Qwa-Ba-Diwa person who declined signing did so because she was told by the Ditidaht Indian Act elected chief that she would lose her job at the band office if she signed, and she has a family to support.
2. I am lawfully entitled to live on Qwa-Ba-Diwa Land.
3. I never consented to any form of amalgamation and therefore do not recognize any such amalgamation.
4. My lawful representative is Cha-Baht Nytom a.k.a James Knighton, Hereditary Chief of Qwa-Ba-Diwa.
5. It is my wish that the First Nation of Qwa-Ba-Diwa be recognized as a separate nation and therefore be entitled to our own administration of funds and resources.
In December of 1991 I wrote a letter to George Watts regarding the erosion of the Hereditary Rights.
In February of 1992, with Bruce Clark's help, I filed a Reply to the non-native government's Statement of Defence in the above mentioned court action. That Reply focuses unambiguously on the crucial jurisdictional issue beyond the treaty frontier. The D.I.A. and Environment Canada are now telling me that I do not have any court case, either because I supposedly withdrew it or because Bruce Clark is an Ontario lawyer not entitled to practice in British Columbia. They are willfully blind to the point that we are not in British Columbia but Carmanah, and that regardless of Clark my family is entitled legally to assert the jurisdiction of Carmanah. Upon the basis of this patently fraudulent position the government of Canada is purporting to purchase from the Ditidaht Indian Act band the sacred trust responsibility to protect the forests of Carmanah. The duty to protect, from Canada's legal perspective, includes the right to clear-cut when policy and the people in power change.
The sacred trust of Carmanah is and always has been vested in my family. It is not up for sale. The 9 million dollars that Canada wants to pay to its puppet the Ditidaht Indian Act band and which that band wants to get, is money paid for stolen goods and both Canada and the band know it.
In April of 1992 I talked to Eugene Arima, Ethnohistorian for the Historical Research Branch of Environment Canada. He confirmed, and agreed to put in writing, that the term Ditidaht can be used in different senses. As a linguistic concept the term includes Qwa-Ba-Diwa, amongst many other independent native nations. As a political concept that linguistic term has been borrowed and applied to the Indian Act band concept invented by Indian Affairs. In this latter sense the term Ditidaht does not include Qwa-Ba-Diwa, except for the wishful thinking of some federal bureaucrats and some non-Qwa-Ba Diwa natives who illegally would like to sell and get paid for the Carmanah which is not, and never was, theirs to sell.
Subsequently in April of 1992 Jean Charest, Canadian Minister for the Environment, wrote a letter to me stating that there was no historical data to support my allegation that Carmanah was ever independent. Yet on April 13, 1992, the above mentioned Eugene Arima, Ethnohistorian in Mr Charest's own Ministry, wrote "The Carmanah, properly Qwabadow'a'tx [[the proper syntax cannot be reproduced in this post due to font/text limitations]], constitute an independent tribe...It is important to distinguish between 'Ditidaht' meaning the people or tribe at Nitinaht Lake and the same term referring to the language division. Because the Carmanah speak in Ditidaht does not mean they are part of the Ditidaht tribe."
Also in April 1992 I talked to Richard Inglis in Victoria, a historian for the B.C. Museum. He stated that it was a well known fact that Qwa-Ba-Diwa was a separate nation. He added that the census in the early 1900's still separated the population of the four villages close to Nitinaht Lake. Inglis gave me a copy of a letter dated 1896 in which Mr. Daykin, lighthouse keeper at Carmanah lighthouse, wrote out a complaint for several Chiefs. This letter was signed by Chief Qatqsa:s of Carmanah, Chief Jones of Pacheena, Chief Peter of Pacheena and Chief Shewish of Nitinaht.
On numerous occasions we asked people in the D.I.A. to produce a letter confirming the allegation that there was an amalgamation and have repeatedly been told that there does not appear to be such a letter. While talking to Ms Anita Bascaro, a lawyer in the D.I.A. Regional office, she stated that their records start with the 1914 Commission.
In August of 1920 the Royal Canadian Human Association awarded an Honorary Testimonial to Catherine Night time a.k.a. Catherine Nytom and awarded a Medal to Jimmy Night time a.k.a. Jimmy Nytom for saving the lives of two sailors near Carmanah village.
On January 3rd 1920, while anchored at Carmanah, the ship Puritan floundered on the rocks. Chief Jim Nytom and his family were having dinner and looking out to sea. He saw that the sailors were in danger of drowning. He sent his son Frank to the lighthouse to tell the keeper of what was happening and the keeper answered that he was not stupid and would not go out in these rough seas.
Jim Nytom then tied a fishline around his waist and had his son and wife give out line while he swam through the breakers and got hold of one sailor. His wife and son then reeled them in. After the first sailor was safe Jim Nytom went back in the seas and rescued a second sailor. The sailors remained at Jim Nytom's house overnight and the next day the light keeper came down to tell the sailors that they could not stay with these people as they were "Indians" at which statement they said that the Indians had saved their lives not the keeper and that they would remain there until time to leave.
The sailors' names were August Roine and John A. Jansson. For this act of courage, as already noted Jim Nytom was given a medal from the Royal Canadian Humane Association and Clo-eese also known as Catherine was given an Honorary Testimonial. Both the medal and Certificate show the name Night-time instead of Nytom. But the point is that the events occurred at Carmanah and the residents were Nytoms.
I also have a letter dated November 27, 1990 from Hugh Watts, Hereditary Chief, stating that Frank Knighton was Hereditary Chief of Carmanah.
Several other knowledgeable Elders have executed statements saying "This is to certify that the Nytom family also known as Knighton were originally from Qwa-Ba-Diwa now known as Carmanah I.R. No. 6" and furthermore confirming "To the best of my knowledge the Nytom family also known as Knighton were and still are the Hereditary Chief of I.R. #6 Carmanah."
The explorer Brown, writing in June of 1864, noted four inhabited Ditidaht settlements southeast of the entrance to Nitinaht Lake: villages at Whyac, which was fortified on the seaward side, Clo-oose and Carmanah, and a camp at Echwates (Carmanah River).
Joe Edgar, a knowledgeable Elder of Nitinaht, told me in December of 1991 that when he was a young boy he would go and stay at Carmanah with Jim Nytom and Catherine. He stated they had a house at Carmanah village and also a house at Carmanah River (Echwates) and that Catherine used to get the Cedar roots in Carmanah River.
The trapline registered in the name of Jim Knighton extends along the coastline between Walbran Creek, which is southeast from Bonilla Point, and Dare Point, which is northwest from "Whistling Beach".
There always was an unwritten law that the class system existed among the Natives and a person from a high rank did not marry a person of a lower rank. Thus the Chief of Carmanah always married the daughter of a chief. This remained true when Frank Nytom married Susan Modeste: her father was Tse-hel-ton, Chief of the Quamichan people of Duncan.
In 1872 Jim Nytom, only surviving son of Chief Qatqsa:s and Walsemat, was born in Carmanah. His grandfather was Chief Washatsu.
In 1882 the census shows that Carmanah at that time has a separate identity from Ditidaht, in that distinct lists were maintained with respect to them.
In 1885 Guillard shows Nitinaht, Tsuquada, Clo-oose and Carmanah as separate entities each with their own hereditary chiefs.
Again in 1895 Guillard shows Nitinaht, Tsuquada, Clo-oose and Carmanah as separate entities with their own hereditary chiefs.
It is not until the D.I.A. records of 1898/1899 that Nitinaht shows elected chiefs. At this time, for the first time, there is no mention of hereditary chiefs at Nitinaht. But in 1911 again Jim Nytom is recognized as chief of Carmanah, and there never has been an elected system there.
In the early 1890's Jim Nytom married Clo-eese the daughter of Chief Tsepemolth of Juneau Bay and they had a daughter named Rose. In 1901 Jim Nytom had a coming of age Potlatch for his daughter Rose. This event lasted three or four days. This was the last super big gathering of its type before the banning of the Potlatch.
In 1895 or 1896 Chief Qatqsa:s purchased a two masted schooner from the Chinese people then refurbished it and gave it to his son Nytom for sealing.
In 1907 Jim Nytom and Clo-eese had a son who they named Frank Charles Nytom. Frank was born at Carmanah. After Chief Qatqsa:s death Jim Nytom became the chief of Carmanah. In 1914 at the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission Chief Jim Nytom stated that his was the only family now residing at Carmanah. Everyone else had either died or moved away.
In August of 1928 Frank Nytom married Susan Modeste, daughter of Chief Tsehelton of Duncan. Frank and his wife moved to Carmanah to reside. In June of 1930 their oldest son was born and they named him after his grandfather Jim Nytom. This boy is the "Cha-baht Ny-Tom also known as James Knighton" in the above mentioned court case, being action number S2575.
I am "Cha-Baht His-Tah-Too-Kwa also known as Peter Knighton" identified therein. My brother James has given me instructions according to native law and a power of attorney according to non-native law to speak to the issues.
My other siblings born at Carmanah are Philip (born in 1932), George (born in 1935) and Wilma (born in 1937).
When in 1939 our parents moved to Clo-oose, one of their relatives named Chipps offered to let them build on his land at Clo-oose. No one would help our parents to build as they said that they did not belong in Clo-oose and that they should move back to their territory in Carmanah.
In 1939 I was born in Clo-oose. My brothers John (born in 1941), Alfred (born in 1943) and Frederick (born in 1945) were also born in Clo-oose.
Thus Frank and Susan had four children born in Carmanah and four children born in Clo-oose. Sometime in the early 1930's the name Nytom was changed in the non-native records to Knighton.
In 1942 Jim Nytom, chief of Carmanah, died. At that time Frank Knighton became hereditary chief of Carmanah. In 1955 Clo-eese died.
As already noted, in 1964 the government moved the people from Clo-oose to Malachan No. 11 at the head of Nitinaht Lake. Frank Knighton, his wife and family moved into a house by the cliff. Frank asked the people of Nitinaht for a house and the answer from the elected Band Council was that he did not belong to Nitinaht but to Carmanah and he could not have a new house.
In 1968 Philip Knighton was killed in a logging accident and the logging company gave the insurance money to Frank as he was the legal heir of his son Philip. With this money Frank had a house built at Malachan No. 11 and even then he was told that he should not have chosen the site he did without asking for the permission. He ignored this and had his house built on the site he had chosen.
Previously, his sons Philip and George had asked for houses and were told they could not get a house. They had told Philip that it was because he was single, but George was married and he also could not get a house so it is apparent that it was an excuse which had the same basis as the one given to Frank.
Despite requests from Frank to the Band Council for maintenance and/or repair the Band Council continuously refused to do any repair or maintenance on his house, saying that since Frank built and paid for his own house and since he belonged to Carmanah there was no money for such repairs and/or maintenance, although money was allocated for such things for the other people there.
Frank's son Peter purchased outside paint for his parents' house and when he started to paint the house the Band Manager told him that he was not allowed to do so as it was not his parents' turn to have their house painted. Peter still painted the house.
These are only a few examples of what happened. But it went on on a continual basis. There never was any rights for the Knightons while residing with the Nitinahts as they were told they belonged to Carmanah not Nitinahts.
In 1991 I built a cabin in Carmanah for myself and my immediate family.
We Qwa-Ba-Diwa people have a serious difference of opinion with the non native governments of B.C. and Canada. We want to avoid violence and at present are not prepared for war. Peace can be maintained and justice served if we all, natives and non-natives, adhere to the existing law when addressing the relationship between Qwa-Ba-Diwa, British Columbia and Canada. Elsewhere major military powers have stopped overpowering weaker countries to increase their land base. The United Nations have even gone to the defence of Kuwait to protect its hereditary system's autonomy and jurisdiction based upon existing law.
In Canada the avoidance of war with Indians of Canada brought forward the need legally to increase the land base by entering into treaties instead. Those areas with people who did not enter into treaties were THEN and are NOW outside the jurisdiction of the Canadian Government.
We the Qwa-Ba-Diwa people trust to the honour of upholding the laws that indicate the stop and start points of jurisdiction in Canada. We state our jurisdiction over the Carmanah area and trust that the enforcers of law will respect and adhere to our statement.
No treaty is in place for the Carmanah people so this in itself should be enough to indicate that Canada has no jurisdiction over that territory. However, we have decided to add to the fact that there is no treaty by pointing out historical data that proves Carmanah's autonomy.