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Old growth logging

May 27, 2021, 11:08 p.m.
Posts: 33648
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

Posted by: three-sheets

https://www.cheknews.ca/port-alberni-mill-purchased-huge-log-seen-in-nanaimo-viral-photo-805743/

He says the log is the bottom part of the tree measuring about seven feet in diameter...

Huh?

May 27, 2021, 11:39 p.m.
Posts: 1992
Joined: April 25, 2003

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: tashi

I don’t like losing old growth but indigenous self determination is a hard fought legal right so I don’t feel I as a non indigenous person have any legal or moral right yet weigh in on what they do on their land.

This band needs income, desperately and their government has chosen this. Not my place to tell them how to get improve life on their land.

I get your point, but that's really short sighted thinking. Unfortunately 500 plus year old trees don't grow back in a few years and the amount of old growth that's left is at a critical ecological point which is brought up in that second link.

There is also disagreement among First Nations people as well. The first link was based on an interview with Tahltan First Nation member and registered professional forester Garry Merkel. Merkel was a key part of the old-growth strategic review panel and "called for a paradigm shift in the way B.C. manages its old-growth forests, saying old forests have intrinsic value for all living things and should be managed for ecosystem health, not for timber." In regards to First Nations use of the land Merkel said "I’m dealing with this in my own community right now. It’s not that we don’t want to use land. The way the land is being used is the problem. It’s not being used right. Almost every First Nation I know … they’re just not happy with the way that the land is being used because they feel it’s just too harmful and destructive and it’s wrecking things. And they want to change that."

I think the government is trying to keep everyone happy and unfortunately in the process what little of the precious old growth asset we have left is getting destroyed.

What is short sighted thinking?  Logging big trees?  Sure.  They’re irreplaceable and ecologically important.  In this case it’s just not my decision, my government doesn’t have jurisdiction.  

And yes, of course there is disagreement within First Nations about logging. There is always disagreement within populations on big decisions made by government. My understanding is that the decision to log near this watershed was made through the bands normal governance process and has the support of both the heridatary and elected chiefs rendering it legal and a reflection of the communities wishes.

You want to tell a band that’s asserting it’s self determination that they’re doing it wrong go right ahead, I’m not touching that personally.

May 28, 2021, 2:14 a.m.
Posts: 1624
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: tashi

What is short sighted thinking?  Logging big trees?  Sure.  They’re irreplaceable and ecologically important.  In this case it’s just not my decision, my government doesn’t have jurisdiction.  

And yes, of course there is disagreement within First Nations about logging. There is always disagreement within populations on big decisions made by government. My understanding is that the decision to log near this watershed was made through the bands normal governance process and has the support of both the heridatary and elected chiefs rendering it legal and a reflection of the communities wishes.

You want to tell a band that’s asserting it’s self determination that they’re doing it wrong go right ahead, I’m not touching that personally.

There's potentially a lot to type out but I will limit my thoughts and then allow the words of someone else to stand instead.

So yes, on one hand there is the right of self determination. On the other hand there is the bigger picture that this decision has much broader implications that go beyond a few temporary jobs that will disappear long before any ancient tress return to that land. There is dispute to the normal governance process that led to this decision from Pacheedaht elders.

Open Letter from Pacheedaht elder, Bill Jones:

Hello all defenders of our sacred forests.
I am shocked and saddened to read all the messages of hate that you are spreading within yourselves. The shaming and blaming is painful to read and to hear about. You seem to have forgotten about why you have all come together in the first place.

I am an elder in the community of Pacheedaht and have established years long and genuine relationships with many people like you including some of the people who are being so terribly abused on the Facebook and the email list. We all have a role and a part in this and we need to appreciate and honour our differences. Difference is a good thing. Different strategies are a good thing. People of all ages and genders and races and cultures and classes need to walk together in order to help heal the wounds of colonialism and environmental destruction.

Your words are dividing our movement in terribly damaging ways and I plead with you to take a step back, get off your computers, get out to the woods.

Talk to each other, listen to each other. If you feel like somebody is not honourable take the time to communicate directly with them and meet them face-to-face to discuss your concerns.
We all know that nobody is perfect but we must trust that people involved in this movement are taking time out of their short lives and doing their very best to make positive change in this world. If people are willing to put themselves in this vulnerable position - of standing on a logging road or speaking out on the internet about the damage to our mother earth and the destruction of our sacred places - then we must trust that although we might not always say the right things or walk the right path we still deserve to be treated with respect.

Just yesterday for 2 hours I sat in circle at one of the blockades with my brother Joe Martin, long time forest defender from the Tla-o-qui-aht Nation and his trusted friend Valeen. We visited along with 2 of our longtime and trusted friends, one of whom is being attacked and abused in your emails. We shared not only stories but discussed many issues that have been raised by some of the indigenous youth and other people on the blockades. We talked about the fact that our views are not always fully supported in our communities but that we have persevered regardless.

How do we reconcile the fact that not everybody in this community is on board? Who do we look to for guidance? Who’s voice counts?

There is no simple answer to these questions. There never was and there never will be but I can share my voice with you and tell you that I invite you to my ancestral land to defend our sacred mother. I assert my hereditary right to enjoy and use this land in traditional ways and to share my use and enjoyment with my friends and allies.

First Nations operate under many different ways of governance. Some are governed mostly by Band Councils, some are governed mostly by hereditary leadership, some are governed by both. Some communities are urban, some are rural. Some communities have large populations and some have very small populations. We must never assume that we know what is going on in a community that we do not either live in or have a relationship with.

Some of us, as do some of you, adhere strongly to the principles of Natural Law and feel that Natural Law is what should guide us all.

The reality is that my community and Joe’s community are comprised of a complexity of individuals all with their own ways of being, just like everywhere else in the world. We have different ideas about many things including how to exist with these forests, what to do. To log or to conserve?

The Fairy Creek watershed is a sacred place for many reasons. I have many stories about this area, from my own experiences as a child and young man and also stories that were told to me by my elders. It breaks my heart in half when I see these last remaining stands being ravaged so a few people can have jobs for a few more months.

For any of you who are non-indigenous or do not identify with your indigeneity, do your best to follow the protocols of the land and culture where you live but also know that lifelong learning happens for everybody, in every culture. You will make mistakes, as we all do, and you, like myself, will continue to learn until the day you die.

For those of you who are indigenous, remember that there are many voices within our communities. There are many different priorities and many different paths to take. Some of us have committed our entire lives to upholding or reviving our cultures and traditions and some of us have not. Some of us came to that place early in life and some of us came to it late. We are men and women of all ages. Some of us live in cities, some of us live in the bush. Some of us live on reserves, and some of us live thousands of miles away from our homeland. We work in offices, we are loggers, we are miners, we are healthcare providers and teachers and students and activists. We, like everyone else are wonderfully diverse.

I encourage you all to stop typing for a moment. Stop picking apart the flaws of your fellow forest defenders. There will be people who you like and there will be people who you don’t like. There will be people who use the kind of language that you can relate to and there will be people who use language that offends you, but within that there is no excuse for abuse or accusations or making demands that will ultimately serve to give the government what they want - the harvest of our ancient trees and the destruction of the forest ecosystems that support those trees.

These forests bring us the clean air that we need to breathe and the clean water that we need to drink and all the plants and animals that we need to sustain not only our bodies but also our spirits.

It is my sincere hope that more indigenous activists will join us in our efforts to protect these sacred lands.

Be humble and remember why you have all crossed paths in the first place. I’ll say this again. Go for a walk in the woods.

Thank you all.
Klecko! Klecko!
William Jones
Pacheedaht, Port Renfrew, BC

Last,
Much of this has already been shared but I reiterate and thank my sister for drawing up some of these suggestions and recommendations for everyone involved.
on the blockades and in planning -

- Share, far and wide and inspire support for this movement. Invite your indigenous and non-indigenous friends to visit and get on board.

- Maintain an elders tent for visiting indigenous elders and include a space for people to rest and even stay if they so wish. This should be clean and warm and offer space to rest. We are happy to participate and to talk but we love some quiet time to rejuvenate.

- Hire a reputable professional for a decolonial workshop, this will help to make the camps more hospitable especially for indigenous youth. Hold this workshop in such a way that people can participate online, in person, and after the fact and request that anyone involved watch or listen to the content

- Make sure that any indigenous activist who would like to come out is supported as needed with transportation, food, gear. Communicate this publicly and have a budget and resources on stand by at all times. It is likely that people will have to travel from far and wide as our community here is very small and very isolated.

- Always have a dedicated driver on call for shuttling any visiting indigenous activists whether from PFN or from elsewhere.

- Put some work into making River Camp wheelchair accessible including making an appropriate latrine. Do this with oversight from a disability consultant.

May 28, 2021, 7:36 a.m.
Posts: 1992
Joined: April 25, 2003

Good stuff, you agree with self determination unless they make the wrong decision.

May 28, 2021, 8:56 a.m.
Posts: 11497
Joined: June 29, 2006

Posted by: tashi

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: tashi

I don’t like losing old growth but indigenous self determination is a hard fought legal right so I don’t feel I as a non indigenous person have any legal or moral right yet weigh in on what they do on their land.

This band needs income, desperately and their government has chosen this. Not my place to tell them how to get improve life on their land.

I get your point, but that's really short sighted thinking. Unfortunately 500 plus year old trees don't grow back in a few years and the amount of old growth that's left is at a critical ecological point which is brought up in that second link.

There is also disagreement among First Nations people as well. The first link was based on an interview with Tahltan First Nation member and registered professional forester Garry Merkel. Merkel was a key part of the old-growth strategic review panel and "called for a paradigm shift in the way B.C. manages its old-growth forests, saying old forests have intrinsic value for all living things and should be managed for ecosystem health, not for timber." In regards to First Nations use of the land Merkel said "I’m dealing with this in my own community right now. It’s not that we don’t want to use land. The way the land is being used is the problem. It’s not being used right. Almost every First Nation I know … they’re just not happy with the way that the land is being used because they feel it’s just too harmful and destructive and it’s wrecking things. And they want to change that."

I think the government is trying to keep everyone happy and unfortunately in the process what little of the precious old growth asset we have left is getting destroyed.

What is short sighted thinking?  Logging big trees?  Sure.  They’re irreplaceable and ecologically important.  In this case it’s just not my decision, my government doesn’t have jurisdiction.  

And yes, of course there is disagreement within First Nations about logging. There is always disagreement within populations on big decisions made by government. My understanding is that the decision to log near this watershed was made through the bands normal governance process and has the support of both the heridatary and elected chiefs rendering it legal and a reflection of the communities wishes.

You want to tell a band that’s asserting it’s self determination that they’re doing it wrong go right ahead, I’m not touching that personally.

I think you are using an approach that has become a huge flaw in any discussion in regards to indigenous rights.  The Japanese have their own right to self determination but would you hold back criticism of their whaling industry?  Would you feel it is wrong to use whatever levers available to make them stop?

Cutting down ancient trees is wrong regardless of who is doing it or what the law says about their right to do so.

May 28, 2021, 9:08 a.m.
Posts: 1992
Joined: April 25, 2003

I agree that it’s bad.

I accept the things that I cannot control.

I respect the decisions made by other governments with regards to their lands. Accepting that this is not your land to make decisions about is part of adjusting to aboriginal self determination.

WRT the Japanese - it does matter where the criticism comes from. It’s one thing for a rich cracker like me to criticize the Japanese, it’s a different matter altogether for me to criticize fledgling aboriginal governments in Canada.


 Last edited by: tashi on May 28, 2021, 12:57 p.m., edited 2 times in total.
May 28, 2021, 11:13 a.m.
Posts: 11497
Joined: June 29, 2006

Posted by: tashi

I agree that it’s “wrong”.

I accept the things that I cannot control.

I respect the decisions made by other governments with regards to their lands. Accepting that this is not your land to make decisions about is part of adjusting to aboriginal self determination.

WRT the Japanese - it does matter where the criticism comes from. It’s one thing for a rich cracker like me to criticize the Japanese, it’s a different matter altogether for me to criticize fledgling aboriginal governments in Canada.

Agree to disagree.  I think a lot of people won't listen to a white dude with money these days, but our opinion is as valuable as anyone else's.  If we don't speak up now it can get much worse once it becomes the expectation, and in this case as Syncro pointed out you would have many allies within the First Nation communities, just not their governing body.  Some things are globally important.

May 28, 2021, 11:26 a.m.
Posts: 1624
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

If your neighbour does something on their land that has a negative impact on your quality of life or that of others, do you say nothing and accept that it is not in your control?

This issue of old growth logging and self determination definitely leaves me in a pickle. These are two separate ideas that I strongly believe in yet they are in conflict with each other. How do I decide if one is more important than the other? Do I have all the information I can gather in order to make that decision? And yes, is it even my decision to make? One of the things I've come across is the interconnectedness of everything - land, animals and people. Nothing happens in isolation. If an asset is nearing collapse, then I believe it is the responsibility of all to do something to protect what we have before it's gone. This applies to ancient trees in BC, rhinos in Africa, elephants in Asia, whales in the Ocean, and salmon in BC rivers - the next battle. The choice on the table is am I ok with letting these trees disappear, or do I as a white man tell those who have been oppressed for generations by settler people that they cannot use their land the way they see fit? I see the problem with that and it is an ugly, ugly choice to have to make. The best I think would be another choice though. Maybe there is a way to deliver an equal or greater amount of economic benefit to the Pacheedaht and not cut down the old growth trees that has not been explored yet. Unfortunately the time for a possible other choice has run out, and forces beyond our control might be preventing that from happening anyway.

I think the reasoning you use tashi to support your choice is not as clear cut as you seem to think it is. The Pacheedaht have not finished their treaty negotiations with the government so they do not have full self determination and control of the land yet. There is some speculation that this logging is happening now in order to get it done before that happens. There are people in the Pacheedaht community who do not agree with the logging of the ancient trees who do not feel comfortable speaking out in their community.

We're down to about 3% of the largest trees that originally existed in BC. Three percent. Less than 10% "of the original high-productivity old growth forest remains intact on B.C.’s south coast." We all have a responsibility to protect that, whatever our history or wherever we come from.

https://www.hashilthsa.com/news/2021-03-08/pacheedaht-members-speak-out-old-growth-dispute


 Last edited by: syncro on May 28, 2021, 11:27 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
May 28, 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Posts: 298
Joined: Oct. 23, 2003

Posted by: chupacabra

Posted by: tashi

I agree that it’s “wrong”.

I accept the things that I cannot control.

I respect the decisions made by other governments with regards to their lands. Accepting that this is not your land to make decisions about is part of adjusting to aboriginal self determination.

WRT the Japanese - it does matter where the criticism comes from. It’s one thing for a rich cracker like me to criticize the Japanese, it’s a different matter altogether for me to criticize fledgling aboriginal governments in Canada.

Agree to disagree.  I think a lot of people won't listen to a white dude with money these days, but our opinion is as valuable as anyone else's.  If we don't speak up now it can get much worse once it becomes the expectation, and in this case as Syncro pointed out you would have many allies within the First Nation communities, just not their governing body.  Some things are globally important.

Exactly, the forest shouldn't belong to any one group, what's at stake here is far more important than some incredibly short lived economics... cause guess what's gunna happen once they've cut it all down? In this age at the very thing edge of a fat wedge of mass extinctions  happening all over the globe, saving what little original ecosystems should be a far greater priority for everyone.  Yes both sides are arguing semantics about "oh well they said this number, that's not accurate, we'll use our number." It doesn't fucking matter, anyone with half a brain can drive through these affected areas and clearly see how little is left. 

I can't imagine the BCTS and provincial government had no hand in suggesting to the Native band that this is what they should be doing.

May 28, 2021, 11:41 a.m.
Posts: 1992
Joined: April 25, 2003

Whelp, I applaud you all for putting the ecosystem over the people and being willing to say so. 

Many on your side like to try and have it both ways and it’s maddening to me.

May 28, 2021, 11:47 a.m.
Posts: 1624
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: Adam-West

Exactly, the forest shouldn't belong to any one group

That's where the Indigenous culture component of this discussion becomes incredibly relevant. The land doesn't belong to us, we belong to the land. The land needs to be used in a manner that respects all other beings and respects future generations ability to access the land. Cutting down what precious little old growth remains respects neither us, future generations or the land itself.

May 28, 2021, 11:52 a.m.
Posts: 1624
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: tashi

Whelp, I applaud you all for putting the ecosystem over the people and being willing to say so. 

Many on your side like to try and have it both ways and it’s maddening to me.

That's a fair and good point. I don't expect people will always make the "right" or "best" decisions, but as long as we're making those decisions if we're considering the interests of all who are affected then I am ok if some things don't work out 100%.

May 28, 2021, 12:13 p.m.
Posts: 3466
Joined: May 23, 2006

Posted by: chupacabra

Cutting down ancient trees is wrong regardless of who is doing it or what the law says about their right to do so.

May 28, 2021, 12:44 p.m.
Posts: 11497
Joined: June 29, 2006

Posted by: tashi

Whelp, I applaud you all for putting the ecosystem over the people and being willing to say so. 

Many on your side like to try and have it both ways and it’s maddening to me.

I am not sure it is over the people though.  We have left these big decisions on our future together to the courts and leaders but I would bet the people are pretty united on this issue whether they are indigenous or not.

May 28, 2021, 12:55 p.m.
Posts: 298
Joined: Oct. 23, 2003

Yes and our courts and leaders are busy getting their pockets stuffed from the industry to look the other way.. so much for representing the will of the people.  Which brings us to the point we've reached now, people getting arrested for standing up for what's right. Cause you know, when man wrecks something man made, its vandalism, but when man wrecks something natural it's "progress"

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