REPORTING · 26th November 2011
The Haisla First Nations gathered at the Haisla Community School in Kitimat Village on November 10th for a community meeting regarding a Marine Use Plan.
“Tonight, the community gets a chance to look at their Marine Use plan that the Marine Use Plan committee have been have been putting together for the past year or so,” said Ellis Ross, Chief Councillor for Kitamaat Village.
The plan regards how the Haisla want to see the marine resources utilized. This goes beyond economic development. The plan is similar to zoning, showing which areas are best for cultural use, which areas provide sustenance, which areas can be used for economic development and which areas can be used for tourism.
“With the way that case law has been going with Aboriginal Rights and Title, it makes sense to learn more about these exorcises and make use of it if we want to have any cooperation between us and the government,” said Ross.
The Federal Government withdrew support for the Marine Use Plans a month ago. However, these plans would lay the ground work for better relationships between the First Nations communities and the governments.
The plan itself would show where the Haisla community has food harvesting locations There have been a lot of food sources contaminated over the years in the Douglas Channel.
According to Ross, Kelp beds used to be thick enough, boats had trouble passing through them. There were shellfish in areas where there are no longer shellfish and even if there were, the areas are now contaminated because the water is used for industry.