Tsawataineuk First Nation

February 14, 2005 09:00 ET

MEDIA ADVISORY: Protest in Wasi'las (Holden Creek)

TSAWATAINEUK FIRST NATION DEMONSTRATE IN SACRED WATERSHED Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor KINGCOME INLET--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 14, 2005) - The Tsawatineuk will be protesting at Wasi'las (Holden Creek) on Monday, February 14.
Time: 10:00 AM (PST)

Musgamgw First Nation members are holding a demonstration in Holden Creek, a watershed that is in their asserted territory and has historical and spiritual significance for their people. The elders are accompanied by Tsawataineuk youth. Elder Helen Willie stated, "Our name for Holden Creek is Wasi'las. Our relationship to this watershed goes back to our origin story which was part of the opening of the Last Commonwealth Games in Victoria. It is a sacred place where two Wolf brothers, Kawadkila & Kwalili, our founding ancestors, reunited."

International Forest Products began falling trees in the Kingcome Timber Supply Area, specifically Wasi'las in December 2004 under a road permit issued by the BC Ministry of Forests. Interfor intends to apply to the Ministry of Forests for cutting permits to commence harvesting in early spring. Preliminary archaeological assessments of the watershed have uncovered numerous artifacts, culturally-modified trees and a village site estimated to be 5,000 to 7,000 years old.

The Tsawataineuk (Musgamagw) are seeking a legal designation of Wasi'las as a protected area under the Provincial Central Coast Land and Resource Management Plan. In the meantime, however, destructive road building continues to compromise the sanctity of the watershed. Old-growth cedar groves are at the heart of the valley. For Helen Willie, the protection of old-growth cedar is an important part of her decision to participate in the demonstration, "Our traditional relationship to the land is central to our culture and we must stand up for the preservation of our resources and the maintenance of our connection to our lands and our history."

"We also are giving notice to the BC Government and industry that we are frustrated with infringements that impact our resources such as fish-farms and other areas where lack of meaningful consultation and adequate resources are in place to protect and enhance our land and resources. What has been proposed for accommodations are not worth talking about. This is what our members believe" concluded Eric Joseph, Chairman of the Tsawataineuk.

The Tsawataineuk will provide further notices of other demonstrations later this month. IN: ECONOMY, FORESTRY, RELIGION

Contact Information

  • Eric Joseph, Chairman, Tsawataineuk First Nation
    Primary Phone: 250-974-3013
    Secondary Phone: 250-974-4224
    E-mail: ericjoe@kingcome.net