Raven's Eye

Nuu-chah-nulth-aht mourn ‘The General’ ~ Nelson Keitlah

Author: 
Raven's Eye Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

MEDIA RELEASE

PORT ALBERNI (Monday, May 2, 2016) - A man of huge importance to modern Nuu-chah-nulth history has died. Nelson Keitlah was one of the original leaders of the West Coast District Council, which became the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC).

Keitlah was often referred to respectfully as ‘The General’ for his ability to lead the 14 Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations in negotiations with the Federal and Provincial governments.

As Central Region Co-chair of the NTC, Keitlah participated in, and led Nuu-chah-nulth Treaty negotiations for a decade, and was instrumental in the formation of the Central Region Board for cooperative resource management on the west coast.

He represented the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations through the ‘War in the woods’ protests in Clayoquot Sound, and stood against MacMillan Bloedel when they proposed to log Meares Island.

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At a meeting of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

At a meeting of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition held in Terrace on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5., representatives from 27 First Nations discussed the possibility of a First Nations-led environmental assessment process for major industrial projects, reads a press statement Feb. 8 from the group’s Coalition and Steering Committee.

The group says it is made up of nations who have agreed to work together to develop common approaches to strengthen capacity of communities impacted by major project development. No list of the nations involved with the group was included with the release.

The First Nations-led environmental assessment process would be modeled on the environmental review conducted by the Squamish First Nation concerning a proposed LNG terminal.

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Three communities of the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council and its NStQ Treaty Group

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

Three communities of the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council and its NStQ Treaty Group voted yes Feb. 11 to continue negotiations based on their Agreement in Principle.

Canim Lake, Soda Creek and Canoe Creek/Dog Creek voted in support of moving to Stage 5, the Final Agreement, in negotiations.

“The results of this important vote show that the BC treaty negotiation process is working, and supports First Nations governance and self-determination,” said Commissioner Jerry Lampert.

The Williams Lake’s vote, as part of the NStQ, was suspended, however, due to protests around the voting process and will hold another vote on March 15.

As part of British Columbia’s interim agreement with the NStQ, the nations will receive 3,760 hectares of provincial Crown land transfers. The agreement also includes funding for construction of fencing to address the interests of cattle ranchers affected by the agreements.

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Musqueam, Squamish and Tseil-Waututh First Nations

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

Musqueam, Squamish and Tseil-Waututh First Nations have signaled their intention to purchase a 38.8-acre parcel of land in West Point Grey. The lands consist of two parcels totaling 38.8 acres, which are owned by the province. Another 52 acres, known as the Jericho lands, were recently transferred from the federal government to the three First Nations and the Canada Lands Corporation. “If a sales agreement is concluded, it will allow for a meaningful community consultation process between the First Nations and the City of Vancouver on what the community would like to see with respect to future development of the lands,” B.C. said in a statement. “Any purchase would be based on fair market value for the land as determined by independent appraisals.”

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The B.C. government and service Employees’ Union

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

The B.C. government and service Employees’ Union signed a solidarity accord Feb. 4, which commits its opposition to pipelines running through 130 First Nations’ territories. Representing thousands of employees, the union affirms its support of the Save the Fraser declaration, which bans Northern Gateway or other similar pipeline projects from crossing the territories of signatory nations. The accord, said the union, was years in the making.

The union said it supported the B.C. Supreme Court ruling that found the province failed to consult with First Nations on Northern Gateway. Union Treasurer Paul Finch said governments have a legal and moral duty to engage First Nations in meaningful consultations, and B.C. has “spectacularly failed in this responsibility.

“We’re in favour of resource development projects. They just have to be done right,” he said.

 

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Kwikwetlem First Nation has filed an Aboriginal title and rights and Charter claim with the B.C. Supreme Court

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

Kwikwetlem First Nation has filed an Aboriginal title and rights and Charter claim with the B.C. Supreme Court in an effort to ensure its title and rights over key areas in its traditional territory.

Kwikwetlem has traditional territory around the watershed of the Coquitlam River, which the Nation says has seen significant development over many years, with no end in sight.

“Our community has worked hard to be consulted and meaningfully involved in decisions about the planning and management of our land for years,” said Chief Ron Giesbrecht. “Although governments have taken some steps to involve us in making decisions about how our lands will be used, we do not feel our title and rights interests are being taken seriously. Given there are limited processes for resolving Aboriginal land claims for a small Nation like ours, this claim is the next logical step.”

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Vancouver-area nation wants territory title, rights recognized

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

Kwikwetlem First Nation has filed an Aboriginal title and rights and Charter claim with the B.C. Supreme Court in an effort to ensure its title and rights over key areas in its traditional territory.

Kwikwetlem has traditional territory around the watershed of the Coquitlam River, which the Nation says has seen significant development over many years, with no end in sight.

“Our community has worked hard to be consulted and meaningfully involved in decisions about the planning and management of our land for years,” said Chief Ron Giesbrecht. “Although governments have taken some steps to involve us in making decisions about how our lands will be used, we do not feel our title and rights interests are being taken seriously. Given there are limited processes for resolving Aboriginal land claims for a small Nation like ours, this claim is the next logical step.”

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B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union signed a solidarity accord

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union signed a solidarity accord Feb. 4, which commits its opposition to pipelines running through 130 First Nations’ territories. Representing thousands of employees, the union affirm its support of the Save the Fraser declaration, which bans Northern Gateway or other similar pipeline projects from crossing the territories of signatory nations. The accord, said the union, was years in the making.

The union said it supported the B.C. Supreme Court ruling that found the province failed to consult with First Nations on Northern Gateway. Union Treasurer Paul Finch said governments have a legal and moral duty to engage First Nations in meaningful consultations, and B.C. has “spectacularly failed in this responsibility.

“We’re in favour of resource development projects. They just have to be done right,” he said.

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Land promised for successful AIP ratification

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

If members of the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (NStQ) treaty group ratify their treaty Agreement-in-Principle on Feb. 11 they will receive land transfers from the province.

The Nations in the Cariboo region of British Columbia are negotiating a treaty with the province and Canada, but under incremental treaty agreements with B.C., 3,760 hectares of Crown land will go to Tsq'escen' First Nation (Canim Lake), Stswecem'c/Xgat'tem First Nation (Canoe/Dog Creek), Xat'sull First Nation (Soda Creek) and T'exelc First Nation (Williams Lake) in advance of a final treaty.

The agreements also include funding for construction of fencing to address the interests of cattle ranchers affected by the agreements.

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Contemporary dance company performs at Vancouver festival

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016
 
The 2016 Vancouver International Dance Festival, to be held Feb. 28 to March 19, will feature Raven Spirit in its impressive line-up of dance works from internationally-celebrated artists and local favorites. 
Raven Spirit will perform Frost Exploding Trees Moon, which will be staged March 13 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at Woodwards Atrium at 149 West Hastings St.
It is a solo piece performed by Michelle Olson and tells the story of a woman who follows her trapline, builds her camp, and settles into “the centre of her world of breath and perception.” 
Olson is a member of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation and the artistic director of Raven Spirit Dance. She received a Bachelor of University Studies at the University of New Mexico and continued her dance training at the Aboriginal Arts Program at the Banff Centre.

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Edward John, an executive member of the First Nations Summit

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
11
Year: 
2016

Edward John, an executive member of the First Nations Summit, is calling for urgent efforts in B.C. to revive Indigenous languages. He said the 6,000 to 7,000 languages spoken by Native peoples around the world are “the essential component of cultural heritage” and should get international attention and support to ensure their survival. John spoke at a three-day meeting of language experts at U.N. Headquarters in New York.

“The priority focus that I hear from all of the experts is, create fluent speakers,” he said. “That’s what you need to do. How do you do it? That’s the discussion taking place.”

“There’s been a large focus on literacy, developing books and calendars and dictionaries” in Indigenous languages, John said, “but not as much of an effort in fluency.”

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The Huu-ay-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
11
Year: 
2016

The Huu-ay-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island, one of the five Maa-nulth Treaty Nations, has purchased a significant amount of land around Bamfield, including the purchase of a gas station, a lodge and marina, the 40-acre airstrip, and the seven-acre Rance Island in Bamfield Inlet. A Huu-ay-aht, press statement says the nation hopes to generate more tourism in the area while giving an economic boost to their people.

 

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Lelu Island and Flora Bank

Author: 
C33
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
11
Year: 
2016

Lelu Island and Flora Bank is critical habitat for wild salmon, located at the mouth of the Skeena River in northwestern B.C. The area has now been declared permanently protected from industrial development by a coalition of First Nations leaders, local residents and federal and provincial politicians.

The Lelu Island Declaration will be a “major obstacle” to Malaysian-owned oil and gas giant, Petronas. The company intends to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant near Prince Rupert, reads a press release.

“The Lelu Declaration sends a powerful message to Premier [Christy] Clark and Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau,” said Hereditary Chief Yahaan of the Gitwilgyoots Tribe of the Lax Kw’alaams. “The support to stop this LNG project is overwhelming. Nations are united from the headwaters of the Skeena River to the ocean. Together, we will fight this to the end.”

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Simon Fraser University

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
11
Year: 
2016

Simon Fraser University has approved a Burnaby campus memorial to commemorate the experience of First Nations, Metis and Inuit children who attended residential schools. It will be a part of the Faculty of Education’s new Aboriginal Gathering Place. The initiative is sparked by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) final report.

“It is still early, but we envision the creation of a special area with a copper or bronze wall plaque with map, locations and names of B.C. residential schools, a small stone or bronze statue of a hugging mother and child figure, and a memorial garden with traditionally used plants and an outdoor classroom,” said William Lindsay, director of the Office for Aboriginal Peoples at SFU.

“The plan is to locate this in a beautiful patio location that is part of the new Aboriginal Gathering Place being created in the SFU Faculty of Education. We see this place as a place of honour, a place to remember, and a place to learn.”

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The Haida Nation

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
11
Year: 
2016

The Haida Nation maintain closure of the commercial herring fishery in its waters to allow time to address long-term management and conservation of herring stocks, a press release reads. The closure does not affect the traditional roe-on-kelp fishery. A letter to the nation from Fisheries and Oceans Canada shows the new federal government is onside with the plan.

“Based on science information and pre-season consultations… DFO is proposing a balanced, precautionary approach to harvest planning… Under the historic assessment methodology, both the West Coast of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii are below commercial fishery cutoffs and are closed to commercial fisheries for 2015/16.”

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Fisheries Council wants feds to make First Nations’ right to fish a priority

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor VANCOUV
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
11
Year: 
2016

A recent study that indicates First Nations fisheries’ catch could decline as much as 50 per cent by 2050 due to climate change is just one more factor that will impact food and economic security for British Columbia’s coastal First Nations.

The findings of the study, conducted by scientists with the Nereus Program, an international research team led by scientists at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, do not come as a shock to Ken Malloway, chair of the First Nations Fisheries Council of B.C.

“I’ve been at it for a long time and we’ve been talking about climate change and things like that for an awful long time and it seems like it’s here now and really happening,” he said. “Climate change is not something new.”

The study, published in January in PLOS ONE, says that most of the 98 “culturally and commercially important” species of fish and shellfish in the northeast Pacific would be affected by climate change.

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Nations support PM as he promises tanker traffic ban

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
10
Year: 
2015

First Nations leaders in British Columbia offered the Trudeau government their support to implement an oil tanker moratorium on the province’s north coast.

“A federal moratorium would protect not only the ocean, but also our lands, freshwater and the plants, animals and communities that depend on them,” said Chief Stanley Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation, a member of the six-nation Yinka Dene Alliance whose territories represent 25 per cent of the proposed route of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines.

“We support the federal government on this. I think our boats are finally pointed in the right direction.”

The Ministerial Mandate Letters for Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, as well as Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Hunter Tootoo, direct that formalizing an oil tanker moratorium on B.C.’s north coast is a top priority.

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Minister delegating legal obligation, say chiefs

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
10
Year: 
2015

On Nov. 23, the Gitanyow hereditary chiefs, on behalf of all Gitanyow, filed an application for a court order to require Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Steve Thomson to comply with his obligations under provincial legislation to manage wildlife in the Nass area of British Columbia in Gamlaxyeltxw v. Minister of FLNRO

Under the Nisga’a Final Agreement Act, which ratified the Nisga’a treaty, every year the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations must set the total allowable moose harvest for that year for the Nass area. The Minister does so after receiving recommendations from a joint BC-Nisga’a committee established by the Nisga’a Final Agreement of 2000, reads a press release.

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Heritage Conservation Act under fire again

Author: 
By Cara McKenna Windspeaker Contributor ABBOTSFORD, B.C.
Volume: 
33
Issue: 
10
Year: 
2015

A B.C. developer and First Nation are asking the provincial ombudsperson to investigate the government’s apparent failure to recognize the historical value of what is believed to be an ancestral cemetery.

Corpus Management Group claims that the provincial ministry of forests, lands and natural resource operations failed to grant historical status to the site, which is understood to be a mass burial ground for victims of the 1782 smallpox epidemic.

The company had planned to build a $40-million agri-centre on the 67-hectare lot in Abbotsford until it was discovered that nearly half is a sacred site for the Sumas First Nation.

Sumas Chief Dalton Silver has joined with Corpus to ask provincial Ombudsperson Jay Chalke to investigate the province.

In the meantime, Corpus’s director is urging property buyers to be “very, very careful” in light of the province’s many unsettled Indigenous land claims.

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