PRESS RELEASE 04 August 2000
Heiltsuk Tribal Council
Heiltsuk Nation Protests Sports Fishing Industry
As part of a First Nations Summit resolution #0600.10 - Support for War Council's Proposal for Direct Action, (attached) the Heiltsuk Nation will participate in support of this resolution.
The Heiltsuk Nation is located on the Central Coast of British Columbia. The Heiltsuk people have occupied their traditional territory, approximately 35,735 square kilometers, for over 10,000 years or more. With more than 2000 band members the unemployment rate is over 65% on reserve.
The area that has been targeted for protest is located within the Heiltsuk traditional territory. The area was originally included in the commercial fishery before it was shut down for conservation purposes. Since then there have been no conservation efforts. Chief Councilor Robert Germyn states "The area of St. Johns was originally shut down on the basis of conservation, to date this has not happened and every year it is now occupied by the sports fishing industry" he further adds "it's time for us to serve notice to stakeholders and to the governments that we own the resources in this territory, we've let go of too much and continue to see all of our resources depleted."
It is a common feeling that the governments are not dealing with our Nation in good faith. Even though we are in treaty negotiations there are still large numbers of tenures and licences being issued for resources in Heiltsuk territory. Chief Councilor Robert Germyn states: "We have tolerated this for too long without any consultation effort on the part of companies and the governments with regard to business in our territory."
By exercising aboriginal right to fish in their traditional territory the Heiltsuk are reaffirming their rights and title to the area. The Heiltsuks intention is to let the provincial and federal governments and business know that they are taking more control of their territory. They demand better consultation efforts or continued efforts will be taken to disrupt business in Heiltsuk territory.
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