Friday, Dec. 2 will be an historic day for Huu-ay-aht First Nations as they sign a First Nations Woodland License. The Forest Act of BC was amended in 2010 to include a First Nations Woodland Tenure.
“This is a big step forward for HFN,” said Chief Councillor Jeff Cook. “It is the first to be issued in British Columbia under the new legislation. It is the result of decades of First Nations asking to be part of the forest industry.”
In the past, tenures were only available to forest companies. Councillor Tom Happynook notes that “After 18 years at the treaty negotiation table demanding British Columbia find a way to include us in the forest activity going on in our traditional territory, BC has made the necessary changes to provide us with a First Nation’s Woodlot Licence.
"On Friday, in Victoria we will sign off on the inaugural First Nation’s Woodlot Licence. This is a very important event for our Nation as it is a major component of our economic development strategy. Not only will this produce revenue, but it will also produce meaningful employment.”
The signing ceremony will take place at the provincial legislature in Victoria at 11 a.m. on Dec. 2. Chief Councillor Jeff Cook will attend along with members of the HFN Executive Council and Ha’wiih (hereditary chiefs). The Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thomson and the Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Mary Polak will represent the province.
Huu-ay-aht First Nations (HFN) is a First Nations community based on the west coast of Vancouver Island near Bamfield, BC. On April 1, 2011, HFN entered a new era of self-government as they began to implement the Maa-nulth treaty.