Statement from Huu-ay-aht First Nations
As a Nation, we are excited to announce that Huu-ay-aht has reached an agreement with Western Forest Products (Western) to purchase an additional 44% of tenure ownership of TFL 44 and a 7% interest in the Alberni Pacific Division sawmill (APD).
This deal builds on the Reconciliation Protocol Agreement we signed with Western in 2018 and the purchase of a 7% interest in TFL 44 in 2019. Huu-ay-aht and Western have demonstrated a track record of cooperation and a willingness to work together to achieve reconciliation and forestry revitalization. We believe by purchasing this additional tenure, which will give Huu-ay-aht a controlling interest in TFL 44, our Nation can create new opportunities for citizens on our traditional territory and revitalize forestry in the Alberni Region.
“This is an historic step to gain more control over the ḥahuułi of the Huu-ay-aht Ḥaw̓iiḥ (traditional territory of the Hereditary Chiefs),” explains Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Head Hereditary Chief Derek Peters). “We are proud Huu-ay-aht, and our sacred principles of ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking care of), and Hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one) will guide us as we create more opportunities for our citizens and more wealth for our Nation in a way that protects those resources for present and future generations.”
Looking forward, this deal addresses key priorities for our Nation. It has the potential to create jobs, training, and business opportunities for Huu-ay-aht citizens close to home, including opening the door for our citizens to become entrepreneurs and operators on our own land.
“Being the majority owner, we will be able to advance Huu-ay-aht’s forestry principles and, over time, the deal will provide real benefits for Huu-ay-aht citizens, including the opportunity to diversify our economy and manage our forest resources in accordance with our sacred principles,” says Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “Through this deal, Huu-ay-aht will have increased revenues from the forestry sector to support further watershed renewal projects and programs and services for Huu-ay-aht citizens.”
This agreement has the full support of Executive Council, has been endorsed by the Ḥaw̓iiḥ Council, and requires the approval of Huu-ay-aht citizens.
“This is a positive example of the strong relationship that exists between leadership the citizens and the Hereditary Chiefs,” says Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin. “We have a good negotiation team in place, and we have confidence that the agreement reached honours our ancient spirit and modern mind.”
We will continue to provide information, answer questions, and ensure citizens have enough information to make an informed decision when the time comes to vote on the deal at a future People’s Assembly.
Click on the links below for the full video statement, news release, backgrounder, and TFL 44 area map: