|Huu-ay-aht First Nations (Huu-ay-aht) is seeking leave to intervene in an appeal from the recent decision in Teal Cedar Products Ltd. v. Rainforest Flying Squad, 2021 BCSC 1903 where the Court refused to extend an injunction against interference with Teal Jones forestry operations in the Fairy Creek watershed and surrounding areas.|
Huu-ay-aht’s lands are not directly implicated in the Fairy Creek protests, however Huu-ay-aht has an interest in ensuring it is able to effectively manage and meaningfully participate in decision making about lands and forests in which it has Treaty rights and interests. Whether the Court restores the injunction or not, First Nations need to be able to rely upon the Courts in situations where First Nations want to enforce their laws or rights with respect to land and resource use within their Territories. In this regard, Huu-ay-aht, as a Treaty First Nation, can provide a unique perspective to assist the court in its decision.
“As a Modern Treaty Nation, Huu-ay-aht will decide what is best for our people. We will manage the lands and resources the way our ancestors did – guided by our sacred principles of ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking care of), and hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one),” says Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Head Hereditary Chief Derek Peters). “To inform our forestry and resource decisions, Huu-ay-aht has commenced a thorough two-year integrated resource management process. And, in the future, we may look to the Courts to protect and enforce our interests.”
Huu-ay-aht’s request to intervene in the appeal is not to support any particular side. It is to ensure the Court is aware of this unique position and the associated concerns of B.C. First Nations when attempting to exercise decision-making authority over forests and other resources within their Territories.
“I have a duty and responsibility as Chief Councillor of Huu-ay-aht First Nations to uphold and protect our Treaty rights, title, and interest across our ḥahuułi (traditional territory),” says Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “We believe we can assist the Court to understand the impact this decision may have for Huu-ay-aht’s ability to manage its lands and resources for the benefit of future generations.”