June 30, 2022

Statement on Enforcement Operation on Illegal Camp in Ditidaht Traditional Territory

Nitinaht, Traditional Ditidaht First Nation Territory, B.C. – June 30, 2022 – Yesterday, the RCMP, through the Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) and Division Liaison Team (DLT), moved in to dismantle an illegal camp built across a main logging road on Ditidaht Traditional Territory in Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 44 on Vancouver Island. Yesterday’s enforcement comes following several unsuccessful, but peaceful, attempts by Ditidaht to have the illegal camp removed, including a meeting with elected and hereditary Indigenous leaders from the Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht First Nations on June 23, 2022.

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. Interfering with the lawful use of property is a criminal offense and impeding access to the forestry roads is a violation of the court-ordered injunction granted by the courts regarding forest tenure in the area.

“After several unsuccessful attempts at a peaceful resolution, the protestors continued to not respect the requests of our hereditary and elected leaders to immediately vacate the area,” said Ditidaht Chief Councillor Brian Tate. “The unauthorized encampment is not wanted by our community and stands in the way of our Nation’s right to practice our culture, including traditional use of the land for harvesting cedar bark, and was restricting access to our territory for the enjoyment of our people.”

The three Nations continue to remind all current and future visitors to the Ḥaḥahuułi 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.

Further Background Information
News release issued on June 23, 2022
Declaration Notice
Fact Sheet – C̕awak ʔqin Forestry World Class Stewardship Measures
Technical Summary of Old Growth Forests in TFL 44 Report


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