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Heiltsuk Nation Responds to Erin O’Toole’s Support for Reviving Northern Gateway Pipeline

BELLA BELLA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – (Aug. 30, 2021) – Marilyn Slett, Elected Chief of the Heiltsuk Nation, issued the following statement in response to Conservative Party of Canada leader Erin O’Toole’s recently announced support for reviving the Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tankers project:

“Coastal First Nations, including the Heiltsuk Nation, have fought for years against the Northern Gateway pipeline, and have supported the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act to protect our lands and waters for our children and grandchildren.

“We cannot support oil pipelines or oil tanker traffic. We have experienced first-hand what harm an oil spill can cause from a tugboat. In comparison, an oil spill from a supertanker would be unimaginable in terms of the devastation it would cause.

“The Conservative party’s campaign position that it would allow for another Northern Gateway project, is not justifiable. It denies our inherent and constitutional rights and title to safeguard our lands and waters for our future generations. It ignores the immediate threats of climate change. It fails to move us forward into a green economy.

“The answer is not to go backwards, as proposed by the Conservative party. The solution is to create an economy that protects and respects the environment for everyone.”

For more information, or to arrange interviews:

Andrew Frank
HTC Communications

BC Human Rights Tribunal Allows Union of BC Indian Chiefs Application to Intervene in Racial Profiling and Wrongful Detainment Complaint Against Vancouver Police Department

Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) and Heiltsuk Nation welcome extraordinary depth of Tribunal’s decision to allow?intervention to assist in contextualizing the Indigenous experience of policing and the nature of anti‐Indigenous racism and stereotyping.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (August 12, 2021) – The BC Human Rights Tribunal (BCHRT) has released their decision to allow the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) and their counsel, Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, to intervene in an ongoing BC human rights complaint against the VPD for the racial profiling and wrongful detainment of Maxwell Johnson and his granddaughter outside a bank in Vancouver in December of 2019. 

In its decision, the BCHRT said it needed to understand the full context of the complaint to meaningfully determine whether discrimination occurred, stating that: “[f]or Indigenous people in Canada, this context includes a legacy of stereotyping and prejudice” (para 48). The BCHRT said that given UBCIC’s expertise, it was satisfied that UBCIC would be able to assist the Tribunal as an intervenor to contextualize “the Indigenous experience of policing and the nature of anti‐Indigenous racism and stereotyping central to the allegations…” (para 49).

The BCHRT also ordered that UBCIC will be allowed to make oral submissions at the opening and close of the hearing, enter written and oral evidence through a witness on certain conditions, and file written submissions at the close of the hearing.

“We welcome today’s decision and are encouraged by the extraordinary scope and depth of intervention allowed,” said the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and Heiltsuk Tribal Council in a joint statement. “This case embodies the systemic racism that we must all work together to eliminate, and this intervention will allow UBCIC to address many aspects of that racism in a deep way that is a sign of how important these issues are to the Tribunal.”

For over 40 years, UBCIC has participated in the development of case law on a range of issues related to Indigenous peoples in Canada and has intervened at all levels of court. Recently, UBCIC successfully intervened before the BCHRT in Campbell v. Vancouver Police Board (No. 4), 2019 BCHRT 275, which was about police discrimination against an Indigenous mother whose son was being arrested.

A hearing date for the complaint is not expected until the fall or winter of 2022.

For more information, or to arrange interviews:

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC)

Andrew Frank
Heiltsuk Tribal Communications

Reconciliation in Action: Heiltsuk Nation Celebrates July 1st as “Heiltsuk Day” with Purchase and Transfer of Shearwater Resort and Marina for $12.7 Million

Shearwater is a regional service and supply centre and thriving tourism destination on BC’s central coast; Heiltsuk reclaim 63 acres of waterfront property, and take ownership of a dozen businesses, ushering in a new era of economic development.

BELLA BELLA, BRITISH COLUMBIA (July 1, 2021) – The Heiltsuk Nation is celebrating July 1st?as “Heiltsuk Day” with the purchase and transfer of the 70-year-old Shearwater Resort and Marina from the Widsten family, for $12.7 million, using funds secured through a reconciliation agreement signed with the Canadian government. The transfer includes an initial 21 job opportunities for Heiltsuk members.

Video from the signing, and b-roll of Heiltsuk territory and the July 1st?celebrations are available here (and will be updated throughout the day):?https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0vtp8hc2p4yepbd/AABPc3UzdzROooSJY4y5INN_a?dl=0

The nation will continue to operate the resort for guests, adding new offerings like ecotourism and cultural experiences. Moorage and hotel bookings will open for BC residents on July 23rd?and the rest of Canada on August 1st. Sports fishing opportunities may resume next year.

The nation is marking the occasion with a ribbon-cutting, cultural ceremonies, speeches and a flag raising at the resort.

“This purchase is about creating new economic opportunities and new memories for our people,” said Marilyn Slett, elected Chief of the Heiltsuk Nation. “It is a testament to our resilience, and an example of reconciliation in action. We look forward to building on the legacy of Shearwater and to welcoming guests into our territory in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, when it is safe to do so.”?

The purchase represents the nation’s largest investment in economic development to date, and includes the reclamation of 63 acres of waterfront property, and the transfer of a dozen businesses.

“This purchase is an example of the Haí?zaqv-made version of how to do reconciliation,” said Hemas Harvey Humchitt Sr., a Hereditary Chief of the Heiltsuk Nation. “It shows the hard work of our community and joint leadership is paying off, with the reclamation of land and the creation of new economic opportunities for our members.”

Highlights of the purchase include:

  • 63 acres of waterfront view property, and 32 acres of foreshore leases
  • Deep water marina/moorage (3,000 lineal ft. with 15-, 30- and 50-amp service)
  • Two waterfront lodges (50 rooms), 15 detached homes, 12-site RV park & campground
  • Marine and aviation fuel station
  • Shipyard with 15,000 sq/ft shop, Volvo dealership, heavy machinery, and vehicles
  • Grocery store, liquor store, deli, post office and laundromat
  • 106-seat licensed pub, 60-seat licensed restaurant and upstairs corporate lounge
  • Hardware store, recycling centre, propane sales, rentals and leasing
  • 18 sports fishing boats and the 46 ft. “Pacific Lure” charter yacht
  • Seabus and water taxi service

The purchase was made using funds secured through the?Haí?cístut Incremental House Post Agreement?signed between the Heiltsuk Nation and the Canadian federal government on July 15, 2019, with an??investment of $42.72 million to address the Heiltsuk community priorities of Self-Government; Housing and Infrastructure; Economic Development; and Language Revitalization and Preservation.

The parties to the agreement signed and completed the final purchase for Shearwater Co. on June 30th, 2021, following due diligence and inventory review.?

Contact Information:?

Marilyn Slett
Chief Councillor
Heiltsuk Nation

Andrew Frank
Heiltsuk Tribal Council Communications

Video: Looking Forward to Sunny Days Ahead: A look back at the Hai??zaqv community’s efforts to keep us safe from COVID-19

Our community has been incredible through these difficult times. We’ve stayed safe. We’ve kept each other safe, and we’re almost there! With the vaccinations currently underway we’re on the verge of getting our lives back!

As we look forward to better days ahead, we wanted to share some inspiring pictures of the good work everyone has done.

?iáxsix?a to everyone for your patience and your hard work in keeping everyone safe. We’re all looking forward to sunny days ahead, and we’re almost there!

Community First Reopening Plan

The Haí?zaqv reopening plan balances:

1) the need to reduce, when safe and possible, restrictions affecting our lives and ability to care for one another, restrictions that affect everyone’s wellbeing
2) our unique circumstances and higher risks that we face here relative to the province, given our limited medical facilities and weather-affected transportation options, and
3) recognition that immunization of our youth is a few weeks behind the rest of the province

The plan prioritizes opening up?within?the community first, while keeping travel safeguards to allow us to do this safely. We will mostly follow the PHO’s timing of reduced restrictions,?with the exception of travel restrictions, allowing us to monitor the effects of reduced travel restrictions elsewhere in the province.

Learn more about all four phases of reopening here: http://www.c6tope.tw/covid-19/community-first-reopening/

This plan has been created with the support of the HEOC, local Health professionals, and Joint Leadership.

Proof of vaccination may be required for lifting of individual residents’ and members’ 7-day isolation restrictions and/or individuals’ ability to attend public events, and for non-residents and non-members to enter the community (for example,tovisit Bella Bella, Shearwater). Those who choose not to be vaccinated might be unable to partake in parts of this reopening plan.

Washing & Uplifting Ceremony

To help heal and uplift our residential, day and boarding school survivors, we will be holding a washing and uplifting ceremony on July 23rd, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm in the Big House.

Please walk softly and take care of one another.

Heiltsuk Nation and B.C. sign model reconciliation agreement

VICTORIA/BELLA BELLA –?B.C. and Heiltsuk Nation have signed a reconciliation agreement that supports their ongoing work together to implement Heiltsuk rights and title.

Hereditary Chief Harvey Humchitt, Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin, and MLA for North Coast Jennifer Rice participated in a virtual celebration of the agreement in a ceremony on Zoom on June 18, 2021.

“We are glad to have reached the time when Heiltsuk rights and title are recognized by the province, and they are committed to lasting reconciliation with Indigenous people,” said Hemas Harvey Humchitt, a Hereditary Chief of the Heiltsuk Nation. “As a nation, the Heiltsuk look forward to the future, and continued work with the province as we move towards self-determination.”

“This agreement is an investment in our community that will improve our quality of life, and create new memories for our people,” said Marilyn Slett, Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation. “Through our vision of self-determination, we have worked hard to create an evolving, incremental path towards reconciliation. This agreement is a major investment and step along that path, one that will create a better future for everybody.”

The ‘m?úxvs Nuáqi – One Mind, One Thought Agreement provides an investment to Heiltsuk to carry forward commitments under the 2017 Haí?cístut: Framework Agreement and the Haí?cístut: Laying the Foundation for Our Vision for Reconciliation document. This will also provide a foundation for implementation of Heiltsuk rights, title, and self-government under the 2019 Tuígila Agreement with the provincial and federal governments.

“We share a vision with Heiltsuk, a vision of moving towards self-determination, achieved by supporting concrete measured steps that can be implemented on the ground in tangible, practical ways,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “Our common approach together to implement rights and title gives us an important model to draw on as we move forward with reconciliation all across the province.”

Heiltsuk Nation will receive a total of $22.33 million under the agreement. This investment will support a range of practical steps to meet immediate pressing needs of Heiltsuk, as well as advancing Heiltsuk priorities in the areas of self-government, economic development, environmental stewardship, cultural preservation, and housing – referred to together as House Posts. Some of the plans for the funding include a language centre and language programs, tourism business opportunities, a business plan for a lumber mill, and a long-term care facility for Heiltsuk Elders. 

The House Post priorities are a reference to the Heiltsuk λiác?i (bighouse) in Heiltsuk Territory. The Heiltsuk use the metaphor of the λiác?i (bighouse) pillars when naming each subject area for negotiation to hold up the promise of reconciliation with British Columbia.  

“Together, Heiltsuk and the Province have been working towards a strong relationship and a shared vision for progress on reconciliation,” said North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice. “Today’s One Mind, One Thought agreement provides the investment and support necessary to reaffirm our relationship and make this vision real.” 

Heiltsuk Nation has strong internal governance, with an integrated elected and hereditary system, for which implementing rights and title is an important step towards self-determination. Negotiating incremental implementation of rights and title instead of relying on the courts, helps avoid ongoing uncertainty and significant costs and is a key interest for both the Province and Heiltsuk.  

The ‘m?úxvs Nuáqi – One Mind, One Thought Agreement is another step towards a prosperous future for Heiltsuk Nation – and everyone in B.C.

Quick Facts:

  • has almost 2,500 members

Learn More:

2019 Tuigila agreement: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/agreements/heiltsuk_tuigila_agreement_signed.pdf

2017 Haí?cístut: Framework Agreement: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/agreements/haicistut_framework_agreement_for_reconciliation_amendment_final_signed.pdf


Andrew Frank
Heiltsuk Tribal Council Communications

Cale Cowan
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and
250 356-7324

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