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Huu-ay-aht First Nations confirms 33 per cent old growth remains and announces preliminary decision on Old Growth Deferrals

December 1, 2021 – Anacla, British Columbia – Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Head Hereditary Chief Derek Peters) and Elected Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. announce Huu-ay-aht First Nations has confirmed 33 per cent of old growth remain in their Ḥahuułi (Traditional Territory) and TFL 44.

The total productive forested area within the Hahuuli and TFL 44 is 153,773 hectares (ha), of which 51,240 ha, or 33 per cent, is old forest (greater than 250 years old).

Based on a review of maps provided by the provincial government to the Nation, Huu-ay-aht  First  Nations will continue to uphold our right to old-growth harvesting in four per cent of the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) proposed deferral area in the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi and TFL 44. The Nation has decided on a preliminary basis to defer harvesting for a period of two years in areas that make up 96% of the TAP proposal for old growth deferrals, much of which is already protected under existing conservation measures or not planned for harvest in the next two years.

Beginning in 2023, Huu-ay-aht’s long-term stewardship decisions will be informed by the outcome of Huu-ay-aht’s two-year Hišuk ma c̕awak Integrated Resource Management Planning process.

“As a Modern Treaty Nation, Huu-ay-aht will decide how best to manage our lands and resources guided by our three Sacred Principles of ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking care of), and hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one),” said Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin. “We expect broad recognition and respect for our old growth two-year deferral decisions and our long-term forest and resource stewardship decisions.”

“We have now confirmed that 33 per cent, not three per cent, of our Ḥahuułi and TFL 44 is old growth,” said Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “By approving 96 per cent of the TAP old growth recommendation, much of which is already protected under existing conservation measures or not planned for harvest in the next two years, we are satisfied that sufficient old forest is protected, while we complete our two-year integrated resource management planning process and make our long-term forest and resource stewardship decisions.”

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For more information, contact:

Heather Thomson

Communications Manager, Huu-ay-aht First Nations

250-720-7776, heather.t@huuayaht.org


About Huu-ay-aht First Nations

Huu-ay-aht First Nations is an indigenous community located on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It is a part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, formerly called the Nootka. Huu-ay-aht is a party to the Maa-nulth Final Agreement, a modern treaty that grants its five member-nations constitutionally protected self-government as well as ownership, control, and law-making authority over their lands and resources. For more information, visit huuayaht.org.

Backgrounder

Huu-ay-aht preliminary determination Old Growth Deferrals proposed by the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) for the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi and TFL 44

Huu-ay-aht has completed a preliminary review of two-year old growth deferrals proposed by the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP)  for the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi (Territory) and TFL 44  (Huu-ay-aht beneficially owns 35 per cent of C̕awak ʔqin Forestry (TFL 44). Please refer to Table 1. 

The total productive forested area is 153,773 ha, of which 51,240 ha, or 33 per cent, is old forest (greater than 250 years old). TAP recommends that Huu-ay-aht approve a two-year deferral of old-growth harvesting in 14,754 ha, or 29 per cent, of that total old forest.

Based on maps provided to Huu-ay-aht by the provincial government, the TAP two-year deferral request has been compared to planned harvest areas within the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi and TFL44. 14,109 hectares of the 14,754 ha TAP deferral request (96 per cent) is not planned for harvest within the next two years. In many cases, harvesting is already not taking place because of existing conservation measures.

Huu-ay-aht has analyzed the remaining 645 ha of proposed deferrals (4 per cent of TAP request, or 0.4 per cent of total forested area), and has determined that implementation of those remaining deferrals would result in significant economic harm to Huu-ay-aht, local workers, Bamfield, and the Alberni Region. Because of how these proposed deferral areas are distributed, they put as much as 65 per cent of planned harvest volume over the next two years in serious jeopardy.

These deferrals would have an impact on small portions of many different harvest areas in a variety of ways, including making entire harvest areas uneconomic or inaccessible or making the deferred portion subject to forest health concerns such as windthrow.

TABLE  1 – OLD GROWTH DEFERRAL ANALYSIS

DescriptionḤahuułi & TFL 44 Area (ha)Percentages
Total Productive Forest Area153,773 ha100%
Total Old Forest  51,240 ha 33%
TAP Request for Two-Year Harvest Deferral  14,754 ha 29% of Total Old Forest
Portion of TAP Deferral Request not Planned for Harvest in two years, or in many cases forever  14,109 ha 96% of TAP Deferral Request
Portion of TAP Deferral Request which impacts planned harvest areas       645 ha4% of TAP Deferral Request
Potential drop in volume of annual harvest for next 2 years 65%

After giving this matter and all relevant circumstances careful consideration, Huu-ay-aht First Nations has made a determination to approve on a preliminary basis, for the next two years, 96 per cent of the TAP proposal for old growth deferrals.

However, on a preliminary basis, Huu-ay-aht First Nations does not approve the remaining 4 per cent of the TAP request for two-year deferrals for two main reasons:

  1. Huu-ay-aht is satisfied that sufficient old forest is protected without the additional 4 per cent old growth deferral, and
  2. Approving the remaining 4 per cent of the TAP deferral request would have a significant adverse impact on workers, earnings, and the Nation that goes far beyond any incremental ecological benefit.

It is important to note that this determination is preliminary in nature and is specific to the Huu-ay-aht. Huu-ay-aht does not speak for other Nations. As Huu-ay-aht proceeds with its own expert analysis to support its  final determination, the Nation may learn more about deferral options and current old growth protection measures on the Ḥahuułi and TFL 44 that reduce, increase, or otherwise change the amount of two-year old growth harvest deferral that Huu-ay-aht finally determines is necessary.  Huu-ay-aht expects to make a final determination on Huu-ay-aht deferrals by mid-January 2022.

Huu-ay-aht citizens to receive distribution from Specific Claims settlement

Huu-ay-aht First Nations Executive Council wishes to notify citizens that this year the Nation will issue citizens a distribution of $2,470 from a recent Specific Claims settlement.

A total of $6.3 million was recently paid by Canada to Huu-ay-aht as settlement for the Numakamis Road Specific Claims case. This involved the construction and use of logging roads on the former Numakamis IR1. These funds will be divided into three equal amounts of $2.1 million. One third will go to the distribution to citizens, and the remaining funds will be used in ways that will offer long-term benefits to citizens.

The remaining amount will be invested in the following way:

  • $1 million to the Invested Wealth Fund
  • $100,000 to reimburse the Specific Claims budget line item
  • $1 million for a Bamfield Road Capital Reserve to cover any possible overages of the Bamfield Road project
  • $2.1 million will be used to fund future Huu-ay-aht investments or economic development projects as determined in Huu-ay-aht’s financial planning and budgeting process.

The citizen distributions will be issued on December 10, 2021. Due to COVID, there will be no office pick up of cheques. The funds will be either mailed or issued by direct deposit. Citizens are encouraged to update their contact information or banking information for direct deposit as soon as possible. If your information has not changed, there is no need to contact the Nation.

As per the distribution administration policy, dividend shares of a minor (under the age of 19) must be placed in trust.

If you have any questions, please call the office at 250-723-0100 for more information.

Huu-ay-aht Statement on proposed old growth deferrals

Earlier today, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations announced the proposed old growth deferrals based on the advice and recommendations of the independent Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel established by the B.C. Government in June 2021. Huu-ay-aht First Nations has been briefed on the plan, including proposed old growth deferrals on the ḥahuułi of the Huu-ay-aht Hawiih (Huu-ay-aht Traditional Territory).

To see their full statement, go to this link.

To read the B.C. governemtn announcement, go to this link or watch it on YouTube

Huu-ay-aht First Nations announces Anacla Old-Growth Summit

Huu-ay-aht First Nations announces that Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Head Hereditary Chief Derek Peters) and Elected Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis, Sr. will host the Anacla Old-Growth Summit on November 23, 2021, on old-growth management and process for Huu-ay-aht’s Hišuk ma c̕awak Integrated Resource Management Plan (HIRMP). C̕awak ʔqin Forestry and Huu-ay-aht Forestry Limited Partnership will participate as co-chairs. 

The purpose of the summit is to hear from forestry professionals regarding discrepancies in the scientific data related to old growth (the “science gap”), to tour the Huu-ay-aht ḥahuułi (traditional territory of the hereditary chief), and to discuss Huu-ay-aht’s approach to old-growth management and the Huu-ay-aht Integrated Resource Management Plan (HIRMP) process.

The B.C. Government is expected to publicly propose further old-growth deferrals and changes to forest practices soon. If large scale deferrals are announced and implemented, this would have severe adverse impacts on the safety and economic well-being, cultural and spiritual survival of our people, and the sustainability of our lands. The need for large scale deferrals would likely be justified by reliance on the untested assertion in 2020 by technical advisors to B.C. that there is only three per cent of productive old growth left in BC. Other forestry technical advisors say there is 30 per cent of similarly labelled productive old growth left within a highly protected land-base. As the rights and title holders who make the final decisions on forestry in our Territory, Huu-ay-aht needs to close this science gap.

Those who attend the Anacla Old-Growth Summit will have the opportunity to discuss how
Huu-ay-aht stewardship decisions across the hahuułi are guided by the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration signed by Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht, and Pacheedaht First Nations on June 7, 2021 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

“As a Modern Treaty Nation, Huu-ay-aht will decide how best to manage our lands and resources. We expect broad recognition and respect for the Declaration and UNDRIP,” said Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin. “We need to end the types of protests that threaten the safety and economic well-being, cultural and spiritual survival of our people, and the sustainability of our lands. In our culture that starts by coming together to discuss how we can engage in a manner guided by our three Sacred Principles of ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking care of), and hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one).”

Huu-ay-aht has invited the Hereditary and Elected Chiefs of Pacheedaht and Ditidaht Nations to the summit as the three nations share a common interest in full implementation of the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration. The discussions may also inform future decisions in relation to Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran.

Environmental leader Tzeporah Berman, resource journalist Stewart Muir, forest professionals Al Gorley, Garry Merkel, Rachel Holt, and Cam Brown, and Indigenous leaders, have been invited to the Anacla Old-Growth Summit.

Forest professionals working with Huu-ay-aht, including Bruce Blackwell, Chris Niziolomski, and Stan Coleman, will attend the summit, along with Shannon Janzen, chair of C̕awak ʔqin Forestry. “Forestry professionals and environmental leaders invited to this summit have issued reports that include widely conflicting estimates of remaining old-growth in B.C., from three to 30 per cent, and its current level of protection,” said Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “These reports have also recommended differing forest management strategies. To inform our stewardship decisions for our ḥahuułi and to assist others in B.C. more generally, we wish to hear directly from report authors and others who are experts in the field. We need to close what I call the science gap. The Huu-ay-aht government will make its own stewardship decisions as it relates to the risks and benefits from our forests. We need to move to re-establish what I call indigenous-based forest management (IBM).”

Background information:

Huu-ay-aht First Nations closes offices to give community an opportunity to grieve

Huu-ay-aht First Nations is requesting ʔiisaak (utmost respect) while the community takes time to heal after losing two citizens over the weekend.

These losses have an impact on our whole community. Therefore, our Anacla and Port Alberni government offices will remain closed until Monday, November 1, 2021, to allow our citizens and staff the opportunity to grieve and heal.

This is a time to heal together through our culture and beliefs. We will not conduct any business during this time.

As a Nation, we ask that everyone respect our request and give us the time needed to be with our families and practice our culture.

We will get through these tragic losses with the strength and support of our community. It is at times like this that we lean into each other and rely on our culture and our sacred principles of ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking Care of), and Hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one).

Thank you for your understanding and patience during this difficult time. If you have any questions, please contact Heather Thomson, Communications Manager for Huu-ay-aht First Nations at 250-720-7776 or heather.t@huayaht.org.