NEWS RELEASE · 23rd February 2010
Ministry Forests and Range
The gifting of a traditionally carved, ocean-going cedar canoe from the Nanwakolas Council First Nations to the Province of British Columbia commemorates the ongoing partnership at the heart of the historic Coast Land Use decision, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced today.
"I am honoured to accept this beautiful canoe on behalf of the Province," said Bell. "It represents strength of our collaboration and shared leadership with the Nanwakolas First Nations. "We have a roadmap towards the two goals of healthy communities and healthy forest ecosystems in the Great Bear Rainforest by 2014. This is a bold and challenging initiative that we are making an Olympic effort to achieve."
The Coast Land Use decision is globally significant for being the first ever to rely on an ecosystem-based management (EBM) framework to protect one of the world's greatest ecological gems, the Great Bear Rainforest, while balancing the needs of the communities that depend on the land for their livelihoods.
"We are pleased to be giving this canoe to the Province of British Columbia as a symbol of the relationship that began with the development of Ecosystem Based Management and the completion of the Great Bear Rainforest Plan," said Dallas Smith, President, Nanwakolas Council. "While we have made tremendous progress, work must still continue in the spirit of the New Relationship - this canoe serves as a great reminder to us all that if we are not paddling in the same direction, we will never get there."
The EBM framework, established in March 2009, sets out a verifiable and adaptive approach to managing human activities to ensure coexistence of healthy ecosystems and communities. Vast areas of temperate rainforest are now protected and EBM provides the framework for resource industries to work within.
The Great Bear Rainforest possesses breathtaking beauty, unparalleled recreational opportunities and incredible species diversity spanning 6.4 million hectares along British Columbia's mainland Pacific Coast across from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the State of Alaska.
The 11.1-metre (36 ft., 6 in.) canoe was built over six months by members of the Nanwakolas Council First Nations. An eagle and a whale adorn the cedar canoe - representing First Nations' connection to the land, air and water. Coming together, the two images signify our responsibility to look at things from a complete perspective. Cedar is emblematic of British Columbia's coast rainforest ecosystem and plays a vital role in First Nations culture, the region's biodiversity and in the continued vitality of the forest products industry.
"Partnership and sustainability are two key words in our relations with First Nations and with the forest industry," said George Abbott, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. "The Coast Land Use decision and the practice of EBM are important parts of building a responsible future for our communities. This magnificent canoe is a symbol of our willingness to work together to create that future."
The Nanwakolas Council First Nations members are the Da'naxda'xw Awaetlala First Nation, Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nation, K'ómoks Nation, Kwakiutl Band Council, Kwiakah First Nations, Mamalilikulla- Qwe'Qwa'Sot'Em Band, 'Namgis First Nation, and Tlowitsis First Nation.
These eight First Nations have come together on a regional basis to participate collectively on various land and resource management and planning issues, including participating in development and implementation of the central coast land and resource management plan.