Friday, January 31, 2014

National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo joins the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation in celebrating the long-awaited victory from the Supreme Court of Canada which reaffirmed their commercial fishing rights. This final decision now means that all levels of government have no more legal recourse and must now partake in good faith negotiations with the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation to accommodate their aboriginal and treaty rights to fish.  

“My nation, the Nuu-chah-nulth, has just won a prolonged legal battle and while we welcome the decision it’s unfortunate that it took 11 years of legal wrangling and cost jobs and livelihoods. The government should be working with First Nations based on the recognition of our rights in the first place,” said National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, the lead plaintiff in this case on behalf of his home nation. “Canada should not be fighting these rights. Canada should be working with us to implement them. We have said many times, sustainable economic development is one key to unleashing the full potential of First Nations citizens and communities in a way that benefits the country as a whole.”

This decision comes at a critical time when First Nations are creating the solutions to unlock their full economic potential by tapping into their inherent First Nation traditional economies. First Nations are seeking to build their economies in Canada’s economic pillar from coast to coast to coast that includes a place for First Nation commercial fisheries.

National Chief Atleo added: “This decision is a big step forward in supporting First Nation governance over fishery resources in all First Nation traditional territories. AFN calls on the Federal Government to fully implement Supreme Court decisions. Fundamental change is needed in our relationship. First Nations have been clear from the offset - negotiation is the preferred more effective and efficient path forward as opposed to the courts.”

Friday, January 31, 2014

The BC First Nations Leadership Council (BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs) congratulates the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations on their significant legal victory today.

The Supreme Court of Canada released its decision on Canada’s application for leave to appeal the BC Court of Appeal’s ruling in Ahousaht et al. v. Canada (2013 BCCA 300). This marks the second time that the Supreme Court of Canada has denied leave to appeal in this case and essentially confirms the BC Court of Appeal’s affirmation of the Nuu-chah-nulth’s Aboriginal right to “fish and sell fish”, a right that was originally affirmed by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2009.

Now that the litigation has come to a close, a process to meaningfully engage and implement the Nuu-chah-nulth’s affirmed Aboriginal rights must be entered into in good faith by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). The process undertaken by DFO to date has been abysmal and troubling and the federal government needs to start taking the implementation of common law principles seriously.

The lack of implementation of Canadian court decisions concerning Aboriginal title and rights is not limited to the Ahousaht case. There are countless examples where Canada has refused to enter into meaningful negotiations with First Nations to implement rights that are affirmed by federal and provincial courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

The federal government needs to change direction on how it proceeds in addressing Aboriginal rights and title. Canada’s approach needs to be based on recognition of Aboriginal title and rights, followed by a reconciliation process where the honour of the crown is upheld and good faith negotiations ensue.

We urge the federal government to immediately develop a framework by which to engage with those Nations who have court-affirmed Aboriginal rights so as to uphold the honour of the crown and implement these important court rulings.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

To the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations:


On behalf of the entire Nuu-chah-nulth Fisheries Litigation Team at Ratcliff and Company, we wish to congratulate you on today’s very significant win at the Supreme Court of Canada.  As a result of today’s decision, your aboriginal rights to fish and sell fish are affirmed and fully protected by the Constitution of Canada.  The constitutional protection and the final decision from Canada’s highest court means that no court or government can take your rights away.


This decision represents the broadest aboriginal rights success in Canadian history. No other First Nation has established an aboriginal right to commercially fish a full range (or almost full range) of fisheries resources available in your territories.  The decision that was confirmed today recognizes the long history of Nuu-chah-nulth as a fishing people and affirms that your fishing culture has a proper and prioritized place in Canada’s modern fishing economy.  It is very much to your credit to have relentlessly pursued this case through a lot of barriers and uncertainties, and the win is well deserved.

Related Stort: http://www.hashilthsa.com/news/2014-01-30/nuu-chah-nulth-fishing-rights-upheld-supreme-court

It has been a great privilege for us to work on this case for you and with you, and to be part of such a monumental event in Nuu-chah-nulth’s history.   Congratulations!


John Rich
Matthew Kirchner
Lisa Glowacki
Kate Blomfield
Kevin Lee

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A disease that has killed millions of bats in eastern North America may arrive in British Columbia during the next five to 10 years.

White Nose Syndrome is a fungal disease that kills bats during their winter hibernation period. In order to improve the understanding of bat biology in B.C. and potentially increase their survival rate from the disease, provincial wildlife officials are urging the public to report any bats observed flying during daylight hours this winter, or sites where they are known or thought to hibernate.

Bats provide tremendous benefits because they are such effective consumers of pest insects, and their loss could lead to significant ecological and economic impacts.

White Nose Syndrome is named for the fuzzy white fungal growth on the nose, ears and wings of hibernating bats. First discovered in New York State in 2007, the disease has killed millions of bats in 22 states and five Canadian provinces.

The fungus is thought to have been introduced to North America and is primarily spread by bat-to-bat contact, although human spread by contaminated clothing and gear cannot be ruled out. It is currently not known to exist in bat colonies west of the Rockies.

Scientists in B.C. are working to understand what bats need, how to protect them from White Nose Syndrome and how to help populations survive should the disease arrive. One of the first steps is to better understand bat behaviour and habitat use in the winter.

British Columbians are urged to contact provincial government biologists at 250 387-9500 if they see bats in the winter. Information of particular importance is the location of winter bat roosting sites, unusual behaviour such as flying during the day, and observation of dead or dying bats.




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Notice from First Nations Wildcrafters

If you are in the Port Alberni area and harvest traditional plants, medicines or wild foods please pay attention to the locations in this press release where these mining exploration soil disturbances have taken place. There is a very real potential for heavy metal contamination that may cause a risk to people using plants harvested from these disturbed areas.

Some plants (particularly mushrooms) are what are called "bio-accumulators". That means that they take up heavy metals from the soils. Some species from which roots are harvested may also be a high risk due to the disturbances of heavy metals from these mining exploration activities.

If you are harvesting in these areas it would be advisable to look for and avoid harvesting traditional foods, medicines or wild foods where you see any soil disturbances or other indicators that would show that heavy metals were disturbed and released.

Since vegetation will potentially recover through time, it may be a good idea to document where you see the potential contaminated areas for your future reference to avoid the potentially contaminated gathering site.

This is an unfortunate but excellent example of the need to do Harvest Site Risk Assessments.

Please see this link for information http://www.equitasresources.com/exploration/49-equitas-resources-announces-three-jays-2013-field-program-results-for-nahmint-copper-gold-property-near-port-alberni-bc.html


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The drum is in a Tribal Journeys brown bag from Squaxsin Island 2012

Size is 16 inch, new with no design, a new drum stick with light brown leather on both sides/ with fringe. The drum was only set down while he was packing things to his vehicle, when he returned for it, it was gone.

Please return to David Tate

Phone 250-745-3888.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Press Release from James Lunney's office

The final decision of the BC Boundary Commission has set in motion a series of events that must happen prior to the next federal election. There will be 30 new seats in the next Parliament, including six in B.C. and one on Vancouver Island. The changes reflect population growth and redistribution enumerated in the last census.

This is good for BC and for Vancouver Island. Unfortunately, the dynamics of redistribution split the Nanaimo-Alberni riding right down the middle; it has the effect of appending 50,000 people that I have represented in Nanaimo and Lantzville with Nanaimo south of the ferry terminal and Ladysmith while the rest of the riding peels north to include Courtenay.

For the past thirteen years it has been my honour to represent one of the most beautiful ridings in Canada, encompassing nearly 9,000 square kilometres and communities as diverse as Nanaimo and Tofino or Parksville and Ahousaht; the human resources amongst us and the diversity in population are among the challenges and attributes of the riding that I appreciate the most.

Since the final decision was announced, I have spent considerable time reflecting on the new realities and the impact of the realignment. As I read it, if I choose A over B or B over A, it will of necessity divert a disproportionate measure of my time away from half of the people and region that I have represented for the past five terms and am mandated to represent for the next two years.

Since I am unwilling or unable to reconcile these interests, I have come to the conclusion that I am better to complete my mandate focussing on Nanaimo-Alberni and open the door for others to seek a mandate in the next election under the reconfigured alignments.

The Electoral District Associations will be reconstituted accordingly in the near future and a search to identify new candidates accordingly.

I look forward to continuing in my role for the remainder of the 41st Parliament and along with my staff striving to serve the needs and interests of Nanaimo-Alberni and as much as it is possible preparing new candidates to take on the challenges on the horizon.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Press Release (Oct. 10, 2013, Port Alberni, BC)

Words matter, and when used indiscriminately they can hurt more than they can help.

A case in point is a recent statement made by the Court in Port Alberni during a sexual assault trial: that there is a history of rampant sexual abuse of females in West Coast communities.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council objects strongly to the characterization that sexual abuse is prevalent and growing unchecked in our West Coast First Nations communities. This statement feeds ugly stereotypes about Indigenous peoples, and we will not allow it to stand without response.

Let us make it perfectly clear that the vast majority of the populations in Nuu-chah-nulth communities are made up of good, kind, nurturing family people who place a high value on the respectful treatment of all—men, women and children. The Court’s statement leaves the impression that lawlessness and violence dominates our everyday lives, which is a complete exaggeration and a definite untruth.

“The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council agrees with the Court that any predatory behavior in any community must not be tolerated. We disagree, however, in stigmatizing entire communities of good people in order to get a fair and just result in a case against a single individual,” said Deb Foxcroft, President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.

Certainly, Indigenous communities around the world must deal with the terrible effects of marginalization and despicable mistreatment by colonial governments. We, in fact, work diligently at home to combat the results of the abuse of our people over the generations by Canada’s government. Our leadership invests their scant resources in programs for that segment of our society who struggle with social issues, the roots of which can be traced to those abuses.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and its member nations take every opportunity to raise awareness that violence of any kind in our communities is not to be tolerated, because even one instance is one too many, so the Court’s comment is offensive in the extreme.

“The Court’s comment comes on the heels of a week of reconciliation in Vancouver at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s National Gathering, and after the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District declared 2013 The Year of Reconciliation in the territory. Still, there are those who continue to promote stereotypes that negatively affect the image of our Nuu-chah-nulth and our West Coast communities, and that is unacceptable,” said Ken Watts, Vice-President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.

“Be careful what you say,” is a core teaching of our Nuu-chah-nulth wise people. We would like to share that teaching with the Court, which is a part of a justice system that has shown much mistreatment of Indigenous people over the course of its own history.

For further comment, please contact Debra Foxcroft, President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council at 250-724-5757.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Today, the BC First Nations Leadership Council recognizes the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Proclamation. On this historic and important occasion, the First Nations Leadership Council calls for a renewed commitment from the Federal Government and Provincial governments to the recognition of Aboriginal Title and Rights and to the resolution of the land question in British Columbia in partnership with First Nations.

In the Royal Proclamation of 1763, King George III affirms Indigenous Title and Rights to unceded territories in North America and cements the Crown’s duty to negotiate with Indigenous people for the surrender of land.

“As Indigenous Peoples we have inherent Title and Rights and a sacred duty to protect our territories. It is appalling that the governments of BC and Canada continue to run roughshod over our rights. Through their continued and ongoing legislative and policy changes, the governments continue to implement their self-serving interests without meaningful consultation that is clearly an undeniable legal and constitutional requirement,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “Considering that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be in Canada this week to examine the issues facing Indigenous Peoples, it is vitally important to underscore the great importance for the governments of BC and Canada to recognize, respect and reconcile our Title, Rights and Treaty Rights.”

Robert Phillips, Task Group member of the First Nations Summit added “The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is clear that Indigenous Peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or occupied, a principle articulated in the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The Government of Canada is founded upon this Proclamation and has endorsed the UNDRIP, now is the time for Canada to not just ‘aspire’ to the principles found within these foundational documents but to join us and commit to negotiate and move beyond the Indian Act, move towards true recognition and reconciliation of Aboriginal Title and Rights.”

BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould commented, “The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is an incredibly important ethic and legal instrument. It is unequivocal in its acknowledgment that the various ‘Nations or Tribes of Indians’ have aboriginal title to our territories with the promise that before settlement can take place our interests have to be dealt with.” In light of proposed major resource development planned in BC, she added, “the fact that Aboriginal title has not been dealt with in those parts of Canada where there are no treaties does not diminish the promises contained in the Proclamation. There is a need for a modern reconciliation framework based upon recognition, where the land question can be settled through good faith negotiations and where the honour of the Crown is upheld and the promises of the Proclamation fulfilled".

Monday, October 7, 2013



(Ottawa, ON) – Today, on the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation by King George III, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo strongly urged the federal government to join First Nations in acting now for change.  At a press conference in Ottawa, National Chief Atleo cited this significant anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on and reset the relationship between First Nations and Canada, reminding the federal government and all Canadians of the unique relationship between First Nations and the Crown (now Canada) established hundreds of years ago with the intent for all nations to succeed.


“The 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation is about reflecting and focusing on the work we must do today to act on our commitments to one another to drive change together,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.  “Today and every day we must recall the intent that brought all our ancestors together so many years ago, and ensure that the principles of mutual respect, mutual recognition and partnership are our guides going forward to achieve a better life for all of us.  Too many First Nation children, families and communities are challenged on a daily basis to meet basic standards of life because we are not living up to the promises in the Treaties and other agreements that stem from the foundation of the Royal Proclamation.”


October 7 marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation which led to the Treaty of Niagara between the British Crown and First Nations through wampum diplomacy and the exchange of 24 Nations Wampum Belts and the 1764 Covenant Chain August 1, 1764.  Some First Nations view the Proclamation as a precursor to colonization, yet it is also seen as setting the foundation for Treaty-making between First Nations and the Crown (now Canada).  Recognizing and affirming Aboriginal title to First Nation lands, these events were significant in creating a foundation for subsequent Treaties based on a nation-to-nation relationship grounded in mutual respect, mutual recognition and partnership – principles that remain relevant and essential today.


“The approach, laws and policies of federal governments have been paternalistic at best and assimilationist at worst,” said National Chief Atleo.  “Our work today is about returning to approaches that recognize First Nations authority over our lives, our lands and our peoples, where First Nation governments are strong, the Treaties are alive and honoured and Treaty-making allows all of us to thrive.  Let today mark an ‘era of action.’  It’s clear to everyone that the paternalistic approach is not working and the status quo is failing everyone.  We must commit today to return to the original relationship and act together for change.”


National Chief Atleo will be joining First Nation Elders, leaders and community members at a number of events marking 250 years of the Royal Proclamation, including a sunrise ceremony in Ottawa earlier today.  National Chief Atleo will participate in a public reception at the Museum of Civilization this evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  He will then travel to London, U.K. for a reception at the High Commission on October 8 and October 9 will deliver a keynote address at Oxford University.  AFN Regional Chief Perry Bellegarde and representatives from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations held a sunrise ceremony today in London, U.K. and are participating in a number of other commemorative events there as well.


“I strongly encourage First Nations and all Canadians to participate in events here in Ottawa and across the country, to learn more about our shared history and our shared relationship, understanding that we all have responsibilities to uphold our promises to one another.  This is how we will move forward to realize the full potential of First Nations and Canada,” said National Chief Atleo.

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