The Heiltsuk Tribal council is participating in the Central Coast Land and Coastal Resource Management Plan, known as the LCRMP. This process was initiated by the provincial government to plan land use on "Crown Land" and to resolve questions of protected areas.
The process is not what the Heiltsuk Tribal council wants. When we objected to this process we were told it would happen with or without our participation. The Council decided to participate in this process to safeguard Heiltsuk interests in Heiltsuk lands. We feel that we are in this process under duress (we have been forced to participate to look after our land).
The LCRMP process is proceeding as if there were no Land Question in British Columbia. We are told that matters related to aboriginal title and rights will be dealt with in the Treaty Process. The trouble with this is that while the Treaty process is going on, the LCRMP process will begin and end. While the province says that the LCRMP process is without any prejudice to treaty making, they will be using the LCRMP Plan as their position at the treaty negotiations.
It is thought that we can influence the planning and learn what the government and industry is planning in our lands while at the table. We are also receiving information and have a chance to do some research regarding our lands.
As part of the LCRMP, the government intends to decide what areas will become PARKS. In the past, this was done without consultation. The Heiltsuk plan to have a major role in the management and declaring of protected areas within our lands. We will not tolerate parks being declared against our wishes and without our participation.
The LCRMP process intends to develop a zoning plan describing what activities can happen on the land.
The common view is the First Nations are a minority group within the Canadian population. While this is true, the Heiltsuk are the significant majority within their territory.
With 1,863 people residing within the Heiltsuk territory, the Heiltsuk at 1,192 comprise 65% of the population within their territory1. The community of Bella Bella is by far the largest community within the Heiltsuk territory and represents three quarters of the population in Heiltsuk territory. If demographic trends continue this is unlikely to change in the future.
The Heiltsuk have never surrendered their aboriginal title to anyone. We maintain title to all of our lands.
|Top||1 Source: Heiltsuk Tribal Council 1998|