Huu-ay-aht First Nations set up two check points today at the entrances of the ḥahuułi (territory) of the Huu-ay-aht Ḥaw̓iiḥ Chiefs (hereditary chiefs). Travellers were stopped and offered updates on the access restrictions and safety measures within the ḥahuułi that were announced on May 7, 2021 and came into effect as of today.
Drivers were told why they were being stopped and were given a handout that explains what is expected of them if they enter the ḥahuułi. The purpose is to ensure continued safe forestry operations within Huu-ay-aht lands following a forestry operations safety incident on March 6, 2021 involving an Huu-ay-aht-owned forestry cutblock. For more information on the incident and measures put into place, please go to this link.
Generally, drivers were supportive and understanding of Huu-ay-aht’s approach to addressing safety concerns on their land.
“We want people to access our ḥahuułi, but they must do so in a respectful way that does not put anyone’s safety at risk,” Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. said.
The notice informed people of the three sacred principles that guide Huu-ay-aht First Nations – ʔiisaak (Utmost Respect), ʔuuʔałuk (Taking Care of), and Hišuk ma c̕awak (Everything is Connected). It asked people to use these principles to “guide yourself, without fail, toward people, lands, waters, and resources.” It later pointed out that “the safety and wellbeing of all indigenous and non-indigenous people on our ḥahuułi must never be put at risk.”
“People who violate our sacred principles are not welcome in our ḥahuułi,” said Huu-ay-aht Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Head Hereditary Chief Derek Peters). “We expect people to respect what we are asking of them as this is our land and it is our responsibility to ensure people here are safe.”
Huu-ay-aht will continue the checkpoints for the rest of the week. People who violate the sacred principles are no longer welcome on the territory, and violators will be dealt with to the full extent of the traditional laws of the Huu-ay-aht Ḥaw̓iiḥ and Canadian laws. Violations can be reported to the Nation’s Executive Director at 250-723-0100.