Huu-ay-aht’s elected chief encourages citizens to attend tribunal

Elected Chief Councillor Robert Dennis says it is crucial that people show their support this week for the  Specific Claims Tribunal. The is a hearing for Huu-ay-aht First Nations regarding the value of the compensation Canada owes Huu-ay-aht as a result of the way timber on former Numukamis IR1 was sold to MacMillan Bloedel in the 1940s. The first phase of this hearing occurred in Anacla in November 2013.

Dennis point out in a letter to citizens that, on January 19, 1948, the following Huu-ay-aht people signed a letter and respectfully and most sincerely petitioned the Canadian Government to cancel the licence issued to Bloedel and Welsh to cut timber on 1,100 acres on Nuumukamis Indian Reserve #1. These citizens included: Chief Arthur Peter, Robert Sport, Chief Louie, Jack Peter, Billy Happynook, Gordon Frank, Lenard Williams, Edward Nookemis, Mike Williams, Lawrence Sport, William Dennis, Johnny Billy, Simon Dennis, Jack Billy, Andy Clappis, Wilfred Dennis, William Sport, Alex Williams, Ralph Johnson, Gus Tuutiismis, George Johnson, Old Chief Nookmis, Old Ginger, and Telford Dennis.

“They stood up for their beliefs and rights, and the Huu-ay-aht of today have an obligation to continue their fight,” Chief Dennis said in his letter to citizens. “Please help us get as many Huu-ay-aht to attend the Specific Claim Tribunal Hearing regarding our claim. Let us support our forefathers by being at the hearing on April 19, 20, and 21 at the Anacla Government Office, starting 10 a.m. each day.”

The Specific Claims Tribunal is a judicial body, like a court, that hears claims by First Nations against Canada regarding past wrongs, when no resolution to the claim has been reached through negotiations.

The HFN IR1 Timber Claim relates to logging that took place on IR1 between 1948 and 1969. In 2014, the Tribunal found that Canada had breached its fiduciary obligations in relation to the way the timber was sold. As a result, Canada owes Huu-ay-aht $279,597 in 1940s/50s dollars. This hearing deals with the present day value of the compensation owed to Huu-ay-aht.

The hearing will be similar to a trial in court, taking place before a judge.

In February, the Tribunal heard evidence from expert economists and Chief Robert Dennis. Written legal argument has since been filed with the Tribunal. Three days of oral argument by legal counsel must now occur.

Come and show your interest in your Nation. The hearing will take place at the Huu-ay-aht Government Offices in Anacla, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 19 to 21, 2016 (Tuesday to Thursday).

To view Chief Dennis’ letter, click on the following link: letter from Chief Dennis.