NEWS RELEASE · 11th December 2012
MP Nathan Cullen - Smithers
Describing Haida Nation president Guujaaw as a personal friend and passionate advocate, MP Nathan Cullen joined a chorus of well wishers today as the respected First Nations leader leaves his post after 13 years.
“Guujaaw has been a great leader for the Haida Nation and all First Nations,” Cullen said from Ottawa. “He is a personal friend and I’m glad he will continue to serve his nation in other ways.
“He has been energetic and passionate throughout his extraordinary presidency,” Cullen said. “He brought home a land deal that paves the way for Haida Gwaii’s future and sets the standard for other nations.” (a landmark agreement that increased the protected area of the islands to 52 percent of the total land base.)
Cullen noted that as president, Guujaaw also fought off-shore oil drilling, was instrumental in establishing Gwaii Hanaas National Park Reserve, helped end the black bear hunt, oversaw the return of Haida Gwaii forestry into the hands of his people, and persuaded the BC government to rename the Queen Charlotte Islands to the traditional Haida Gwaii.
Guujaaw, whose full name is Giindajin Haawasti Guujaaw, was first elected his nation’s president in 2000. He served four terms and did not seek re-election as president but will stay on council to represent Skidegate.
Cullen, who visited with Guujaaw at last month’s naming feast in Masset, said he looks forward to working with incoming president Peter Lantin and also staying in touch with Guujaaw during his continued work for the nation.
Left to Right - Guujaaw - President of the Council of the Haida Nation, John Olsen - Gitxsan Unity Movement, Rafe Mair, and Art Sterritt - Coastal First Nations