June 23, 2022

[UPDATED WITH VIDEO] Protesters Ordered to Remove Illegal Camp and Respect Indigenous Sovereignty and Provincial Authorizations

June 23, 2022 – Indigenous leaders from the Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht First Nations met with protesters today to give final notice to immediately dismantle an illegal camp built across a main logging road on Ditidaht Traditional Territory in Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 44 on Vancouver Island. 

Link to the full, unedited video here

Nitinaht, Traditional Ditidaht First Nation Territory, B.C. – Indigenous leaders from the Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht First Nations met with protesters today to give final notice to immediately dismantle an illegal camp built across a main logging road on Ditidaht Traditional Territory in Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 44 on Vancouver Island. The Nations’ elected and hereditary chiefs were supported by the Ditidaht Ts’aa7ukw and C̕awak ʔqin Witwak Guardians, and C̕awak ʔqin Forestry personnel, and accompanied by B.C. government representatives and the RCMP.

This formal request by the Ditidaht elected and hereditary Chiefs, fully supported by the elected and hereditary leadership of Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht Nations as well as C̕awak ʔqin Forestry, follows several unsuccessful but peaceful attempts by Ditidaht to have the illegal camp removed. The camp was built without the free, prior and informed consent of the Ditidaht Nation’s elected and hereditary leadership and violates both traditional Indigenous and provincial laws. It also infringes on the legal decision-making authority and sovereignty of the three Nations within their Ḥaḥahuułi (Traditional Territories) and TFL 44, and the rights granted to C̕awak ʔqin Forestry under provincial tenures and permits.

“As Indigenous governments, it is our responsibility to decide what is best for our lands, our waters, our resources, and the wellbeing of present and future generations,” said Ditidaht Chief Councillor Brian Tate. “The unauthorized encampment disrespects our right to walk with pride between the traditional and modern worlds, to protect our culture and to explore economic opportunities for the common good and benefit.”

“Over the past year, we have set a clear, inclusive path forward for sustainable forest management within our territories, from deferring old-growth harvesting to a new Indigenous-led integrated resource management planning (IRMP) approach, to sustainable development, to investing in a climate positive future,” said Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “It is time to respect our constitutionally protected Aboriginal Title, Aboriginal Rights and Treaty Rights so that we can focus on these win-win stewardship solutions to heal our lands, our waters and our people for the benefit of our current and future generations. This work will take time and we ask that the protesters, their organizers and their funders give us the time and space to achieve these goals.”

The illegal camp impedes lawful forest operations managed by C̕awak ʔqin Forestry and permitted by the Province of B.C. under the Forest Act on TFL 44, which also covers portions of the Ḥahahuułi of the Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht First Nations. C̕awak ʔqin Forestry is a limited partnership between Huumiis Ventures Limited Partnership (wholly owned by Huu-ay-aht First Nations) and Western Forest Products Inc. Forestry operations in TFL 44 support employees, contractors, customers and local communities, and the company is committed to world-leading forestry initiatives, as detailed in the recently released fact sheet.

C̕awak ʔqin means ‘we are one’ in the traditional Nuu-chah-nulth language: we work and speak as one, and respect the interconnectedness between the people, the water, the salmon, and the animals.

“Too often we are the last to benefit from what is taken out and the last to be asked what must be put back in – that ends now,” said Pacheedaht Chief Councillor Jeff Jones. “Today we speak as one, and Ditidaht orders these activists to shut down the camp, set aside their self-interest and instead acknowledge that our Nations won’t be guided by the actions of a few but rather by our sacred principles ʔiisaak (Utmost Respect), ʔuuʔałuk (Taking Care of), and Hišuk ma c̕awak (Everything is Connected) and by our responsibilities to our future generations.”

The three Nations also provided a Declaration Notice to the protestors today, putting all visitors to the Ḥaḥahuułi on notice that they must acknowledge and respect Indigenous sovereignty, governance and stewardship responsibilities, and not interfere with forest operations authorized by the B.C. Government under the Forest Act. Equally, all visitors must not interfere with peaceful, legal protests that do not disrupt legally authorized forest operations.

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About Ditidaht First Nations

The Ditidaht People have inhabited the land around Nitinaht Lake on Vancouver Island since time immemorial. Clear air, pure water and the food of the forests and the waters of our Territory have sustained our people, our economy and our traditions. That we hold the wealth of our Nation and the use of our lands, waters and resources in the future as we did in the past, to the common good and benefit of all Ditidaht, by fostering development that is based on the principle of caring for and maintaining our physical and spiritual linkages with our lands, waters and resources for all generations. Read more at nitinaht.com

About Pacheedaht First Nations

Pacheedaht, translated as ‘People of the Seafoam,” are a distinct First Nation located on the west coast and are part of the Nuu-chah-nulth culture and language group. The Pacheedaht First Nation territory includes the lands and waters along the southwest coast from Kirby Creek to the east and Bonilla Point to the west and extends out to offshore fishing banks. The Nation is in stage 5 of negotiations in the modern day Treaty process. Please contact communications@pacheedaht.ca.

About Huu-ay-aht First Nations

Huu-ay-aht First Nations is an indigenous community located on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It is a part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, formerly called the Nootka. Huu-ay-aht is a party to the Maa-nulth Final Agreement, a modern treaty that grants its five member-nations constitutionally protected self-government as well as ownership, control, and law-making authority over their lands and resources. For more information, visit huuayaht.org

About C̕awak ʔqin Forestry

C̕awak ʔqin Forestry (Tsawak-qin Forestry Limited Partnership), formally known as TFL 44 Limited Partnership, operates TFL 44 and is a limited partnership between Huumiis Ventures Limited Partnership (wholly owned by Huu-ay-aht First Nations) and Western Forest Products Inc. TFL 44 covers roughly 137,000 hectares of land on west central Vancouver Island in the vicinity of Alberni Inlet and Great Central Lake.


Over the past year, C̕awak ʔqin Forestry has committed to:

  1. Protecting big trees and tall trees within TFL 44 that are over 70 metres in height.
  2. Retaining 96% of old growth while Integrated Resource Management Planning (IRMP) is completed.
  3. Working with and respecting area First Nations to put a 200-year plan in place through the Indigenous-led TFL 44 IRMP process.
  4. Pursuing a Manufacturing Investment Plan to Achieve Climate Positive by 2030 (not 2050).
  5. Planting more trees. Over the past five years, we have planted over five million trees across TFL 44 and Huu-ay-aht land tenures, which is more than the provincial standard requires.
  6. Building a stronger future for First Nations, our communities, employees, and contractors, including United Steelworkers (USW) members. We look after each other and are committed to the communities in which we work, our employees, and to achieving reconciliation and revitalization of the forest sector in the Alberni Valley.

A recent technical analysis of TFL 44, reviewed by internationally respected resource stewardship experts and academia in the fields of forestry, ecology, biology, statistics, and timber supply analysis, found that close to one third (32%) of all forests in the TFL are old growth. This is projected to increase to 39% over the next 250 years in the absence of natural disturbances. In addition, over three-quarters (76%) of old growth in TFL 44 is either formally protected or outside of the timber harvesting land base.


There are 38,672 ha of old growth forests in TFL 44, representing 32% of the total area of productive forest. Source: Technical Summary of Old Growth Forests in TFL 44.

Further Background Information


Forward-looking Statements

This news release contains statements that may constitute forward-looking statements under the applicable securities laws. Readers are cautioned against placing undue reliance on forward-looking statements. All statements herein, other than statements of historical fact, may be forward-looking statements and can be identified by references to future periods. Although such statements reflect management’s current reasonable beliefs, expectations and assumptions, there can be no assurance that forward-looking statements are accurate, and actual results or


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