Course:CONS370/Projects/Action and Partnerships Lead to Forestry Success for the Pacheedaht First Nation in British Columbia, Canada
The Pacheedaht First Nation, located on the south-west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, recently reclaimed the ability to benefit from their traditional territory through an agreement with the Government of British Columbia (BC). For the Pacheedaht First Nation, this means the land will once again, in a post-colonial era, benefit the peoples that have inhabited the area for centuries. From acquiring land tenure from the BC Government to opening a milling facility to process the wood from their land, the Pacheedaht First Nation has regained some ability to manage their historical and ancestral territory, producing jobs and income for their community. The Pacheedaht First Nations now manages and co-manages up to 140,000 cubic meters of annual cut, alongside BC Timber Sales (BCTS) (Natural Resources Canada, 2018). Through regaining specific land rights with respect to their traditional ancestral land, they have now regained various authority in respect to their land, that were originally taken from them.
The first people to arrive in the west coast of British Columbia arrived around ten-thousand years ago, and these unidentified groups started to form more complex societies around five-thousand years ago (Ridout, 2004). As these societies formed, they became connected to the area of land in which they existed. The Pacheedaht are the southernmost subgroup of the Nuu-chah-nulth people, who have inhabited the west coast of Vancouver Island for thousands of years, land that has been traditionally inhabited (The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2010)
In 1774, the Spanish arrived to stake a claim on North America, and the indigenous peoples traded furs with them for their desirable metal objects (The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2010). On Captain James Cook’s third expedition for the British in 1778, he arrived in Nootka Sound where he would stay for an extended period of time to map and explore the area (Williams, 2009). For just over ten years, the fur trade was strong and brought large amounts of European goods to the Indigenous peoples. This ended when the sea otters became extinct in the area (Ridout, 2004). Later, in 1849, Vancouver Island was declared a crown colony as settlers worked their way out from Fort Victoria and into Indigenous territories and First Nations were required to surrender land that colonizers demanded (Government of Canada, 2017). As Indigenous-settler contact increased, a smallpox outbreak in 1862 killed around twenty-thousand Indigenous peoples, which was one-third of the Indigenous population at that time (Government of Canada, 2017). Furthermore, in 1871, BC joined the Federal Government as “the Nootkans became part of the Indian reserve system of the federal Department of Indian Affairs” (Ridout, 2004). With this came the forcing of the Nuu-chah-nulth to accept assimilation of European beliefs and cultures, and loss of traditional land and resource right.
For over one hundred years, the Pacheedaht First Nation could not control the resource extraction that occurred on ancestral, tradition territories. However, in 2016 legislation was passed that allowed for the creation of community forests in areas that were under a lot of industry pressure. The west coast of Vancouver Island can be an example of this, as the timber values are high in the area and the forestry industry is interested in the area for harvesting purposes. Not only do these new treaties and agreements allow for increased economic value through forestry activities, but also promote tourism and forest rehabilitation in the area (BC Assembly of First Nations, 2019). With this new legislation, the Pacheedaht were able to acquire a Community Forest License in cooperation with BCTS- the first agreement of this type (BC Local News, 2018). As all parties, the First Nation, BCTS as well as the Government of BC embraced a new type of license, the Pacheedaht became able to gain social, environmental and economic rewards from the land base (BC Local News, 2018). Through the signing of the Forestry Consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreement (FCRSA), First Nation communities like the Pacheedaht share percentages of revenue through logging and forestry from their traditional land (Raits, 2011). The Pacheedaht will receive around $104,000 in their first year of being a part of the signing, which they can then use to benefit their community economically and socially (Raits, 2011).
The community forest is approximately eight thousand hectares of Crown land and is held by the Pacheedaht under a community forest license. This type of license is long-term, area-based tenure that requires the input of the community to manage the area (Government of British Columbia, 2018). This agreement promotes community involvement in rehabilitation and responsibility of the forest (BC Local News, 2018). As the area was previously under the management of BCTS, they continue to have a management role in the area. This community forest is thus managed by BCTS and the Pacheedaht and has an annual allowable cut (AAC) of 31,498 cubic meters (Government of British Columbia, 2017). A portion of the timber from the community forest is sold by BCTS, a quarter of the AAC or 7,296 cubic meters. Half of the net revenues from these sales will go directly to the Pacheedaht community to increase the ability of the Pacheedaht to earn from the land, and the money can be used as desired by the community, for a variety of social services of their choosing to benefit the community. The Pacheedaht are in this instance landlords, not doing the logging themselves.
Both BCTS and the Pacheedaht First Nation have consultation obligations to mitigate the possibility of adverse effects of management practices within the area. Thus, resource extraction has to be approved by both parties with the result of stability and certainty within the Crown lands in the traditional territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation (Government of British Columbia, 2017).
Prior to 2008, the traditional territory of the Pacheedaht, approximately 163,000 hectares of forestland, was completely allocated to third parties for harvesting through forest tenures and licenses. From then, when the Pacheedaht did not manage any land within their territory, the Pacheedaht now manage and co-manage forest areas that yield up to 140,000 cubic meters of annual cut (Natural Resources Canada, 2018). A portion of this volume of wood was obtained by the Pacheedaht and their partner Anderson Timber Ltd. The partnership took place in 2010, creating two companies, one that owns land tenures and one that manages these tenures. This partnership owns Tree Farm License (TFL) 61 which covers 20,240 hectares of the traditional territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation. This TFL has management goals set out by the Pacheedaht and is an important source of income for the Nation (Natural Resources Canada, 2018). The Pacheedaht in this relationship are not doing the logging themselves.
Both partnerships, with BCTS and Anderson Timber Ltd. show long term visions of creating income and jobs for the community as prospective Pacheedaht students are offered bursaries for entering the forestry industry (Natural Resources Canada, 2018). Additionally, the Pacheedaht own and operate two forestry facilities. One is a log sorting, scaling and shipping facility while the other facility is a sawmill that produces high quality specialty cedar products. Both businesses employ First Nations members and there are other milling business that they are planning to open (Natural Resources Canada, 2018). Revenue sharing of forestry activity, along with relationships formed through TFL 61 and the Anderson Agreement, allow Pacheedaht communities to not only gain financially, but helps them develop socially as well.
Mostly repetition in this section. Revise and remove the repetition.
For over one hundred years, the Pacheedaht First Nation could not control the resource extraction that occurred on ancestral, traditional territories. However, in 2016 legislation was passed that allows for the creation of community forests in areas that have a lot of industry pressure. The west coast of Vancouver Island can be an example of this, as the timber values are high in the area and the forestry industry is interested in the area for harvesting purposes. Not only do these new treaties and agreements allow for increased economic value through forestry activities, but also promote tourism and forest rehabilitation in the area (BC Assembly of First Nations, 2019). With this new legislation, the Pacheedaht were able to acquire a Community Forest License that is co-operated by BCTS- the first agreement of this type (BC Local News, 2018). As all parties, the First Nation, BCTS as well as the Government of BC embraced a new type of license, the Pacheedaht became able to gain social, environmental and economic rewards from the land base (BC Local News, 2018). Through the signing of the Forestry Consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreement (FCRSA), First Nation communities like the Pacheedaht share percentages of revenue through logging and forestry from their traditional land (Raits, 2011). The Pacheedaht will receive around $104,000 in their first year of being a part of the signing, which they can then use to benefit their community economically and socially (Raits, 2011).
The Pacheedaht Community
Community members themselves are the primary stakeholders that are affected in the forest areas, because they are traditional land owners along with the primary inhabitants. Historical lack of power for Pacheedaht community members in the area, caused members to have little to no say in the use of the land. Although, there has historically been little to no recognition of power or opinion of the Pacheedaht community, new laws and tenure agreements have caused the Pacheedaht community as a whole to regain power in their community. The partnership between Pacheedaht communities and Forestry companies like Anderson Timber Ltd, allows for the community to gain relative power with their partners (Natural Resources Canada, 2018).
British Columbia/Crown Corporations
The government and crown companies that are involved hold the highest power in forestry licenses and policies, and are the parties that have the power to administer these relationships among First Nation communities. Crown corporations like BC Hydro, have the power to mandate and create the relationships with others. The Government and Crown companies show great interest in First Nation communities, as by creating relationships that increase employment among Pacheedaht communities, they also retain a general control over the area.
Through a desire to reclaim there rights, proactive decisions were made that enabled the Pacheedaht peoples to navigate the complicated legal system and obtain land tenure and management abilities on their ancestral territory. Although the land is still considered Crown land and is therefore still owned by the Government, the Pacheedaht were able to regain the ability to earn from and manage the land [provide an example of changed land management], they now have the means and recognition to benefit their community from their traditional land. New partnerships between BCTS and First Nations were formed for the first time, which could act as a template for other First Nations to regain management control over their lands in the future. The success of the Pacheedaht businesses could also lead to more First Nations attempting to start businesses related to forestry throughout the province, through the growing relationships, recognition and agreements between government and First Nation.
- Ancient Forest Alliance. (2017, 11 10). Conservationists thank the Pacheedaht First Nation for extending protection over 18 hectares of “Jurassic Grove” near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island. Retrieved from Ancient Forest Alliance: https://www.ancientforestalliance.org/conservationists-thank-the-pacheedaht-first-nation-for-extending-protection-over-18-hectares-of-aeoejurassic-groveae%C2%9D-near-port-renfrew-on-vancouver-island-ae-stunning-old-growth-forest/
- BC Local News. (2018, 09 19). One-of-a-kind agreement a boon to Pacheedaht First Nation. Retrieved from BC Local News: https://www.bclocalnews.com/news/one-of-a-kind-agreement-a-boon-to-pacheedaht-first-nation/
- British Columbia Commuity Forest Association. (2018, 09 20). The newest community forest is a partnership. Retrieved from local forests, local people, local decisions: http://bccfa.ca/the-newest-community-forest-is-a-partnership/
- British Columbia Community Forest Association. (2019). Qala:yit Community Forest. Retrieved from bccfa: http://bccfa.ca/cowichan-lake-community-forest-cooperative/
- Cowichan Valley Citizen. (2018, 08 13). Pacheedaht First Nation timber deal first of its kind. Retrieved from Cowichan Valley Citizen: https://www.cowichanvalleycitizen.com/news/pacheedaht-first-nation-timber-deal-first-of-its-kind/
- Government of British Columbia. (2017, 09 17). Pacheedaht First Nation Forest & Range Consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreement (FCRSA). Retrieved from gov.bc.ca: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/agreements/pacheedaht_first_nation_-_fcrsa.pdf
- Government of British Columbia. (2017, 3 16). Pacheedaht First Nation, Cowichan Lake invited to apply for community forest. Retrieved from Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017FLNR0033-000625
- Government of British Columbia. (2018, 09 8). Pacheedaht and Cowichan Lake to benefit from unique community forest agreement. Retrieved from BC Gov News: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0069-001734
- Government of Canada. (2015, 01 23). Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Retrieved from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada: https://web.archive.org/web/20151202030842/http://pse5-esd5.ainc-inac.gc.ca/fnp/Main/Search/FNReserves.aspx?BAND_NUMBER=658&lang=eng
- Government of Canada. (2017, 05 02). First Nations in Canada. Retrieved from Government of Canada: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1307460755710/1536862806124#chp4
- Natural Resources Canada. (2018, 09 27). Successful Indigenous-industry partnerships in the forest sector: The People of the Seafoam. Retrieved from Natural Resources Canada: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/report/21197
- Pacheedaht First Nation. (2013). Treaty Information. Retrieved from Pacheedaht First Nation: http://pacheedahtfirstnation.com/pacheedaht-first-nation-history-and-villages/
- Ridout, R. (2004, 03). Pacheedaht History. Retrieved from Port Renfrew: https://www.portrenfrew.com/pacheedaht1.htm
- The Canadian Encyclopedia. (2010, 11 17). Northwest Coast Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Retrieved from The Canadian Encyclopedia: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/aboriginal-people-northwest-coastThe Canadian Encyclopedia. (2010, 10 24). Spanish Exploration. Retrieved from The Canadian Encyclopedia: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/spanish-exploration
- Williams, G. (2009, 02 29). Exploration. Retrieved from The Canadian Encyclopedia: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/exploration)
- Raits, Pjiro (2011). The Snooke Mirror. Pacheedaht Get Logging Rights and Revenues. Retrieved from:https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/857336413/abstract/EE028C7EA1EC4318PQ/1?accountid=14656
- BC Hyrdro (2018). BC Hydro and the Pacheedaht First Nation Celebrate Agreement Over Purchase of Origin Sit Diitiida, Jordan River lands. Retrieved from: https://www.bchydro.com/news/press_centre/news_releases/2018/pacheedaht-first-nation-agreement.html
- British Columbia Assembly of First Nations. Community Profile: Pacheedaht First Nation Retrieved from: https://bcafn.ca/community/pacheedaht-first-nation/
- BC Local News (2018) One- of-a- kind- agreement a Boon to Pacheedaht First Nations https://www.bclocalnews.com/news/one-of-a-kind-agreement-a-boon-to-pacheedaht-first-nation/
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