Huu-ay-aht First Nations will be implementing access restrictions and safety measures within Huu-ay-aht ḥahuułi (Territory), effective on Monday, May 10, 2021. The purpose is to ensure continued safe forestry operations within Huu-ay-aht lands.
This step is being taken in response to a forestry operations safety incident on Thursday, May 6, 2021 involving a Huu-ay-aht-owned forestry cutblock. Eye-witness accounts confirm a forestry protester drove through safety barriers into an active logging area, putting the safety of the driver and the forestry workers at risk. This is similar to recent incidents on the ḥahuułi of the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations, where individuals associated with environmental non-government groups (ENGOs) disrupted logging operations by putting safety at risk.
“Any protest activity that puts human life at risk is completely unacceptable. While we support the right to peaceful and legal protest, it must not disrupt safe forestry operations,” Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. said. “Equally, Huu-ay-aht First Nations strongly condemns the use of racist language, intimidation, or other acts of violence directed at protestors who are peacefully and legally protesting.”
“Protesters, forest workers, companies, other governments, or indigenous or non-indigenous individuals who do not conduct themselves in accordance with our Nation’s three sacred principles – ʔiisaak (Utmost Respect), ʔuuʔałuk (Taking Care of), and Hišuk ma c̕awak (Everything is Connected) – are not welcome in our ḥahuułi (Territory),” said Huu-ay-aht Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Head Hereditary Chief Derek Peters).
Yesterday, respected conflict prevention and resolution specialist Dan Johnston was engaged by TFL 44 LP. His role is to prepare a report and recommendations on how to ensure continued safe forestry operations, while also ensuring individuals are able to exercise their right to peaceful and legal protest – all in accordance with Huu-ay-aht’s three sacred principles.
ƛiišin and Chief Councillor Dennis stressed that the Nation is doing its part to maintain a respectful and safe community and workplace while Dan Johnston conducts this important work.
“We ask everyone – forest companies, forest workers, environmental groups, indigenous and non-indigenous protesters, the RCMP, the BC government, the USW, Worksafe BC, First Nations and their citizens and members – to do your part as well,” Chief Councillor Dennis concluded. Huu-ay-aht First Nations will provide further details regarding the access restrictions and safety measures it will be implementing within Huu-ay-aht ḥahuułi (Territory) on Monday, May 10, 2021. Huu-ay-aht will meet with Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations and TFL 44 LP. Huu-ay-aht will also be meeting with the Provincial Government.