By: The Working Forest Staff
Anacla, British Columbia – C̕awak ʔqin Forestry (Tsawak-qin Forestry Limited Partnership) and Huu-ay-aht First Nations announce April 28, 2022 as the new date for the Anacla Old-Growth Summit. Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters, Head Hereditary Chief, Huu-ay-aht First Nations) and Elected Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis, Sr. will host the Summit which will take place in Anacla, B.C. C̕awak ʔqin Forestry and Huu-ay-aht Forestry Limited Partnership will participate as co-chairs. This Summit was originally planned for November 2021 but was deferred due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Summit will bring together 50 coastal Indigenous nations to share information on their stewardship and resource management planning and decision-making processes. These Indigenous-led models not only cover all values such as old-growth, fisheries, culture, and climate change, but incorporate the research and advice of leading experts that Indigenous governments have retained in forestry, fisheries, and ecosystem management.
Together, these processes provide clear Indigenous-led direction to provincially-legislated procedures on forest landscape plans, old-growth management, and on-the-ground operational planning, while ensuring long-lasting socio-economic, environmental, and cultural benefits for everyone across the area.
“As sovereign nations, we know how much old-growth is left and we know the key priority is planning for what happens in the long term,” said Robert J. Dennis Sr., Chief Councillor, Huu-ay-aht First Nations. “There has been much debate in recent months over how much old-growth is left and how much is being deferred for the next two years. That debate is over. This Summit will enable sovereign Nations to share the important work they are doing and stewardship decisions they are making for the benefit of their members or citizens, their lands and waters, and all British Columbians. Our land is our culture and it is our stewardship decisions that count.”
In stark contrast to public conversations to date, this Summit will reflect the depth and broad range of professionals, academics and subject matter experts who advise sovereign Nations. It will highlight the important ways in which sovereign nations across the coast are already drawing on the wisdom and expertise of their communities, their partners, and the experts they have retained to exercise their inherent stewardship rights as Indigenous governments.
“As sovereign nations, we know the lands and waters better than anyone, and it is our responsibility to balance the many competing interests, not third parties and environmental groups,” said Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters), Head Hereditary Chief, Huu-ay-aht First Nations. “Stewardship and old-growth decisions for the present and future needs of nations and the ecosystems on their lands are to be made in a manner that benefits all. This is a move away from endless, unproductive debates amongst experts, environmental groups, industry, and protesters about how much old-growth is left and how much needs to be protected for the next two years.”
The Summit will provide an opportunity to introduce the Indigenous Witwak Guardians who have the important work of protecting, monitoring and enhancing C̕awak ʔqin Forestry operations. Their role is to bring awareness to all invited land users on traditions and protocols one must adhere to while visiting or working in the area including TFL 44 and other Huu-ay-aht tenures.
Anacla Old-Growth Summit organizers will provide information on the agenda, guests, and speakers as they become available.
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