PRESS RELEASE 30 MARCH 2001
HEILTSUK WIN KOEYE
The Heiltsuk Nation is pleased to announce that, with Ecotrust Canada and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, they have secured an important piece of land in the Central Coast of British Columbia. The Heiltsuk are the aboriginal people in the area and had been in dispute over planned use of the area by developers. With the generous donation of nearly one million dollars [Canadian] by Mr. Howard and Peter Buffet the property has been acquired and will be turned over to the Heiltsuk.
The Koeye [pronounced Kwaay] property is located in a culturally and ecologically important area that had been under threat of development. The Koeye is an undeveloped watershed that contains significant biological values, as well as being extremely significant to the Heiltsuk both for heritage values and for contemporary use. Koeye contains significant fish values, though the runs have been depressed for some time. There are several major village sites in the area whose descendants form part of the Heiltsuk Nation.
The Heiltsuk initiated a struggle to oppose the development of commercial sportsfishing in the area since the 1980s and mounted a series of protests in 1995 when the property was logged and a lodge was constructed. The Heiltsuk will continue to work to preserve the Koeye and protect Heiltsuk values in this important watershed.
The Heiltsuk will be holding a feast to celebrate the purchase of the lodge and to recognize those who made the purchase possible. The Heiltsuk would like to express their warm thanks to the Buffets and to the people at Ecotrust Canada and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation who helped to make this purchase possible.
For further information contact the Chief Councilor Robert Germyn of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council at 250-957-2381 or visit the Heiltsuk website at www.heiltsuk.com