Yunesit'in Council expecting to engage with all parties in South Chilcotin
Thursday, 26 September 2013 17:06 |
On Sunday September 22, the Yunesit'in Chief and Council had been notified that a group of Tsilhqot'in and fellow allies were establishing another protest in the South Chilcotin. This has been a peaceful protest and logging has ceased until negotiations take place.
The area of occupation is nearby the entrance of 2800 Road or 'Big Meadow'. The Tsilhqot'in members at the site are concerned with the sharp decline of moose and moose habitat from rampant Mountain Pine Beetle salvage harvesting and how this impacts their traditional right to hunt within this area.
(Photo of blockade submitted by Lee Munro.)
"Similar to the logging stoppage at Yannah recently, as Council of the Yunesit'in Government, we acknowledge the frustrations," said Russell Myers Ross, Chief of Yunesit'in. "Hunting is part of our rights and it's the Crown's duty or obligation to protect those rights. Last year, we were able to address our concerns on the 2800 Road, whereby the province brought all parties to the table within the South Chilcotin Planning Process. This is ongoing for future activity, however, the concern is the permits that were issued prior to planning."
Some of the work coming out of the South Chilcotin Planning Process verifies what Tsilhqot'in communities have expressed for a number of years. The July 26, 2013 Scott NcNay et al report entitled "Re-evaluation of Trends in Moose Populations in the Cariboo Region 1985-2012" identified access, non-regulated hunting, predation, and Mountain Pine Beetle salvage are leading factors to the decline of moose.
Orry Hance, a Tsilhqot'in elder and participant in the blockade, said, "We are here to protect the land and the animals, especially the moose. There has been too much logging. They are going for all the green wood, the spruce, the healthy forests. They have used beetle kill as an excuse to come in here. They have opened up roads and it has led to too much hunting."
Francis Laceese, Chief of Tl'esqox, expressed concern for the entire area from Churn Creek, Hungry Valley, Groundhog Creek, and Vedan, adding that the issues arising out of the Supreme Court Tsilhqot'in (William) decision have never truly been addressed by the Province. He believes First Nations hunting rights are being infringed upon.
"As Council, we are looking to set up a meeting to help resolve the issue," said Chief Ross. "The best resolve comes when everyone fully understands the issues and seek to address them. There is a desperate sense of urgency coming from the community about the moose decline, and people want to see action and all means of preventing further compromise of the habitat."
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