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First Nations In Forestry

First Nations in British Columbia play a significant role in today's modern forest industry. Below are recent articles in Truck LoggerBC magazine that highlight the different aspects of First Nations involvement and, in particular, highlight good, working partnerships between First Nations and non-First Nations in BC's working forest.

Working Guidelines to Use in Developing Relationships with First Nations (Truck LoggerBC, Summer 2016)

An argument could be made that compared to many other industries, forestry has an advantage with regard to First Nations issues, thanks to a long history of working with Aboriginal communities. But as Aboriginal title becomes a reality, provincial and federal governments must recognize, relying on established goodwill is not enough to ensure that the forestry sector thrives in the decades to come. This is why the new Working Guidelines for Contractors To Use In Developing Relationships with First Nations is regarded as a first step in fostering
long-lasting partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups.
 

First Nations and Forestry: Working in Industry Today (Truck LoggerBC, Spring 2016)
Over the past 30 years Gerry Merkel has put a lot of effort into encouraging young Canadians from First Nations to look to the woods as a career option—it’s good for the land and it’s good for the people. “I believe the standard and care of the land has improved significantly now that so many Aboriginals are involved in the process,” says Merkel, president and CEO of the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation and one of Canada’s first aboriginal registered forest professionals. Today, an increasing number of young people from First Nations are finding that working in the forest not only provides them with good incomes, but reconnects them with their cultural heritage and values

First Nations Elders and Forestry: A Happily Remembered History (Truck LoggerBC, Winter 2016)
Although many of the old ways have vanished, the forest is still an important part of the First Nations economy, and according to elders interviewed here, BC’s forests could and should play an even more important role in the future, providing jobs, pride and self-reliance. In this issue we present the first of a two-part series on First Nations involvement with forestry in British Columbia. In this instalment, we hear about the recent past from five elders. In the second instalment, scheduled to appear in the spring issue of Truck LoggerBC, we will look at First Nations involvement today.

Working Together: Tourism, First Nations and Forestry (Truck LoggerBC, Fall 2015)

At the mouth of Orford River, the brilliant hue of glacier-fed, turquoise coloured fresh water contrasts with darker sea water of Bute Inlet. But the mixing of the fresh and salt waters are not the only contrasting thing at Orford these days. There is also an unlikely triad working together—forestry, First Nations and tourism. 

Now, First Nations working in forestry is not unusual these days. And neither is First Nations working in tourism. But forestry and tourism are still unfamiliar partners. That said there’s a new age dawning in Campbell River and indeed along the coast between BC’s two most famous industries.  

Building Bridges: Wuikinuxv Nation and the Johnson Creek Project (Truck LoggerBC, Summer 2015)

We’re in the dining room on the Interfor barge camp at Johnson Creek, south of Rivers Inlet on BC’s midcoast. Ted Walkus is showing us pictures of the Chinook that return to the Whonnock River each year—seventy and eighty pound monsters. We’re impressed. 

These Whonnock tyee mean more than just a healthy return on a salmon stream to Walkus. The Hereditary Chief of his family in the Wuikinuxv Nation, Walkus is proud of the work being done at the Whonnock hatchery. The monster fish are emblematic of a rebirth for his community, because the health of the Wuikinuxv Nation is intimately tied to the natural resources of their territory.

First Nations and Licensees: Looking at Today's Successful Partnerships (Truck LoggerBC, Winter 2015)

When Leonard Munt arrived on Haida Gwaii in the fall of 2003, relations between licensees and the Haida could best be described as dysfunctional. They continued to deteriorate and two years later the Haida, together with the island communities, set up a blockade called “Island Spirits Rising” and forestry operations ground to a halt. The blockade had been sparked by an announcement that Weyerhaeuser was selling its timber rights and assets to Torontobased Brascan. However, it was further fueled by longstanding Haida grievances about inadequate consultation and what the coastal First Nation considered to be unsustainable forest practices.

Meet Kelsey Pelegrin, Poster Child for Tomorrow’s Forest Industry Workforce (Truck LoggerBC, Fall 2014)

Article: Meet Kelsey Pelegrin, Poster Child for Tomorrow's Forest Industry Workforce

Kelsey Pelegrin is the kind of employee the forest industry needs to attract. As a young aboriginal woman she's part of a demographic that could help meet the industry's labour market needs. She's also talented and ambitious, coming second in a class of 17 heavy equipment trainees.
 
But it wasn't talent or force of will alone that got Pelegrin into the operator's seat at K&L Contracting as soon as she graduated. She had some help with a targeted training program. It's this kind of support that others in the industry are hoping will lead to more jobs for First Nations men and women in the near future.

Forestry Partnerships: First Nations, Contractors and Trust (Truck LoggerBC, Summer 2014)

Article: Forestry Partnerships: First Nations, Contractors and TrustRelations between First Nations communities and the BC coastal forest industry haven’t always been smooth. For coastal First Nations, the forest has been a source of great cultural and economic wealth for thousands of years. Since contact, that wealth has been contested by industrial interests – particularly by a coastal forest industry increasingly anxious about secure access to timber supply.

When the provincial government introduced legislation (Bill 28) in 2003, one of the intentions was to mitigate this conflict. The Bill redistributed approximately 10 per cent of the allowable annual cut (AAC) to First Nations communities as a step towards economic integration and development. First Nations were to be engaged as active and interested parties in the forest industry. For years, however, this 10 per cent of the AAC was deemed to have entered a “black hole.” Most First Nations’ communities were either not ready to act, or were skeptical.
Good Things Come in Threes: Training, Partnerships and Spotted Owl Friendly Logging (Truck LoggerBC, Spring 2014)

Article: Good Things Come In Threes

Between training, partnerships and spotted-owl-friendly logging, there’s a lot of good news forestry going on the Lil’wat First Nation territory near Mount Currie, just past Pemberton.
Lil’Wat First Nation has developed tenure within their traditional territory and now has three different types—a non-replaceable forest license, two woodlots and a regular forest license making up an annual allowable cut (AAC) of 65,000 m3. Klay Tindall, Forest Operations Manager for Lil’wat Forestry Ventures LP, said the final goal is have all of the different licences amalgamated into one First Nations woodland licence—an area based, long term forest tenure unique to First Nations’ interest in the land and resources. 

Blockades: Right? Wrong? Both? (Truck LoggerBC, Winter 2014)Article: Blockades: Right? Wrong? Both?

In the Canadian movie Two Indians Talking, two young native men debate the merits of using roadblocks to get what they believe are their rightful entitlements. Eventually the question emerges, “When you do something for the right reasons, does that make it the right thing to do?” 
 
Off-screen, Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tsilhqot'in National Government in Williams Lake has a ready answer. Yes, he says, roadblocks are necessary and serve a useful purpose. “When you have a roadblock it does work; it brings attention to the issue,” he says. “The government does not want to look bad in public and unfortunately roadblocks are the only way to get them to do anything. Talking to them in good faith means nothing to them.”