Premier Horgan Meets With Kwakwaka’wakw Leadership
Alert Bay, BC – October 11, 2017 – Forty (40) leaders, both hereditary and elected, of the Mamalilikala, ‘Namgis, Tlowitsis, Mamtagila, and Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw (Dzawada’enuxw, Kwiḵwa̱sut̓inux̱w, Ha̱xwa’mis and Gwawaenuk) gathered yesterday to present a united stance opposing fish farms.
The Premier and delegation were received in ‘Namgis Territory, in Alert Bay where they met in the bighouse – a ceremonial place of gathering for the Kwakwaka’wakw.
The opposition to open-net fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago was strongly asserted by the elected councils, hereditary leaders, matriarchs and community in attendance.
The aforementioned nations have by and large addressed overlap, and in a united voice stated that fish farms continue to operate within their territories, without consent.
It was repeatedly expressed that the government needs to live up to their legal obligations, and their commitment to honour the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Leadership also conveyed respect and appreciation of the peaceful occupation that has been occurring for over forty (40) days on the two fish farms in the area by members of their Nations.
It was expressed that at least ninety (90) other First Nations are in support of the occupations, and the demands put forward:
• No restocking of existing empty pens/sites;
• No use of hydrogen peroxide to be used to treat sea lice infestations;
• No renewal of licences and/or tenures; and
• For the industry to remove all open-net cage fish farms sites from the collective territorial waters.
The ‘Namgis First Nation provided a presentation on Kuterra, a closed-containment aquaculture, as an environmentally sustainable option that can be characterized as an opportunity to be a world leader with appropriate supports provided to other emerging industry evolution.
Furthermore, ecotourism was identified for creating sustainable employment in the future – an industry that already contributes 3.8 billion in value to BC.
Despite the lack of commitment from the Premier to remove open-net cages from their traditional territories, he did commit to meet with a delegation to continue discussions in support of wild salmon in the future.
The leaders remain committed to the removal of open-net fish farms from their collective territorial waters to provide safeguard for migrating salmon that affect the lives of all First Nations listed above, including those of the Fraser River. It has been made clear that the occupations will continue until such time. Furthermore, the occupations are inviting all Wild Salmon nations to join them this Saturday, in solidarity at Swanson Island.
Facebook Event Page: https://goo.gl/tuPDQw
The Mamalilikala, ‘Namgis, Tlowitsis, Mamtagila, and Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw (Dzawada’enuxw, Kwiḵwa̱sut̓inux̱w, Ha̱xwa’mis and Gwawaenuk) nations are of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakwala speaking people) who live in the unceeded lands and waters commonly known as the Broughton Archipelago.
Ernest Alfred Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 250 974 7064
Carla Voyageur Email: email@example.com Cell: 204 292 1098