Ahousaht First Nation

May 19, 2010 15:36 ET

Ahousaht First Nation Demands Respect for its Sovereignty and Decision-Making Process

AHOUSAHT, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 19, 2010) - Today the Hawiih (Hereditary Chiefs) of the Ahousaht First Nation demanded that outsiders stop attempting to undermine its leaders and the decision-making process of the Nation with regards to economic development and land-use.

"The Ahousaht people are a sovereign nation with a connection to our Hahoulthee (traditional territories). We are more than capable of making decisions that impact our people and our land. We do not need uninformed outsiders making decisions or pronouncements without our consent," said Kiista.

Through consultation with the Ahousaht Hawiih (Hereditary Chiefs) and their leaders, the Ahousaht First Nation has decided to work with industry on select projects that will directly benefit the Nation. These are informed decisions that balance the Ahousaht traditional ways of life with economic, social and environmental sustainability.

"In any and all discussions of our projects some outside organizations and their collaborators have not taken the time to inform themselves about our Nation and our decision making process," said Kiista.

"These groups have been using photos and images of our Nation without our consent. They are attacking our business partners without any discussion with us or any willingness to understand how our people make decisions on our land," added Kiista. "We want them to end these practices immediately."

The Ahousaht First Nation asks that all external stakeholders recognize our sovereignty and cease in their efforts to impose their agendas on our Nation, our Leaders and our People.

The Ahousaht First Nation is located along Vancouver Island's west coast near the community of Tofino. Ahousaht is from a Nootka word probably meaning "facing opposite from the ocean" or "people living with their backs to the mountains". As part of the Nuu-chah-nulth we continue to follow our ancestors' true self-determination and real self-sufficiency when they lived and thrived on the lands and waters on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Our vision is self-government that promotes strong, healthy communities, which are guided by n'aas (Creator) and Hawiih (Hereditary Chiefs). We will seek the wisdom/knowledge of our Elders and look upon our Children to give us the desire to succeed.

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