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Haida Gwai Forestry Conflicts


Description

Since the mid 1970s, industrial logging on Haida Gwaii, an archipelago of over one hundred islands off the northwest coast of British Columbia, has been contested by the Haida Nation and their supporters. Haida Gwaii is home to the world's best remaining stands of cedar, hemlock and Sitka spruce. Many waves of blockades, popular mobilizations, court battles and inter-governmental negotiations have led to significant wins. Forests have been protected, new forms of co-management have been forged and Indigenous rights have been strengthened. Haida resistance has helped bring about treaty recognition for First Nations in Canada. Conflicts have been sparked again and again over industrial over logging, especially of old growth cedar trees. Communities are opposing the flow of logging revenue accruing away from local communities and concerned about impacts to rivers and salmon. The conflict also involves logging companies repeatedly violating existing agreements and quotas. “From at least the mid-1970’s, the Haida have pursued a number of strategies, from participation in cooperative management processes to illegal roadblocks, in order to reclaim control over the forests and waters of Haida Gwaii. Throughout this period the Haida continued to draw links between their opposition to the environmental damage wrought by resource extraction industries and the nature of colonialism in BC” (Dean, 2009). Environmentalists helped raise awareness for this Haida-led struggle (Pynn, 2010). Haida resistance led to the creation of the Gwaii Haanas National Park in 1993 which they co-manage with the federal government. This was the first National Park to be co-managed by the Government of Canada and an Indigenous nation (Dean, 2009). Fifty-two per cent of Haida Gwaii is now in protected areas, while another 18.5 per cent is protected through the Haida Gwaii Land-use Objectives Order (Hudson, 2017). Logging companies continue to violate agreements and new blockades and waves of resistance have arisen as recently as 2018. The B.C. government is still "pursuing profit over culture and community" by selling logging rights on Haida Gwaii without Haida permission(Kurjata, 2017a). 

Timeline: 

1985: After 12 years of failed negotiations, members of the Haida nation erected blockades on Lyell island (on South Morseby) to prevent the harvest of old-growth forests (Kurjata, 2017). Western Forest Products had the cutting rights to Lyell Island, and Frank Beban Logging Ltd. was the contractor. The approval of new cutting permits touched off the Haida blockade. Though not against all forms of logging, the Haida argued that “irresponsible logging will not only deplete the old-growth forests but will also alter surrounding ecosystems. This includes the salmon fishery upon which the band's lifestyle is based” (Tremel, 1985). The company was prevented from logging the area (Tremel, 1985). “No matter where you stood on the issue at the time, it is generally agreed a quarter century later that the political and geographic map changed in large part due to Lyell Island” (Pynn, 2010). “The world watched as proud and defiant Haida -- some elders in ceremonial button blankets -- were arrested one after another” (Pynn, 2010). A total of 72 people were arrested. A dozen of them were charged and convicted of contempt and given probationary sentences. Much of the B.C. cabinet at the time held shares in Western Forest Products (Pynn, 2010). Unfortunately, these protests pitted different factions against each other on the islands, even within the Haida community (Pynn, 2010). The Lyell Island blockade helped to "set the mould for the unique way forest protection played out in B.C. over the following decades…When people now see old growth, they think, that should be in a park…Lyell started that" (Pynn, 2010). The 1985 protests marked the end of one epoch and the beginning of another, an end of the time when governments could ignore First Nations” (Pynn, 2010) “The movement on South Moresby was successful because the Haida were able to transform the categories through which the forest was understood and through which decisions about the forest were made. By pursuing both the official processes of consultation and government planning, as well as direct civil disobedience the Haida were able assert their interests in determining the structure of forest policy on Haida Gwaii (Dean, 2009) 

July 1987: The Canadian and B.C. governments signed a memorandum of agreement paving the way for the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site (Pynn, 2010). 1993: The Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site was created. 

2004: A protocol entitled “An understanding about working together for the well-being of the land, waters and people of Haida Gwaii” was signed between the Haida and the communities of Port Clements and Masset (Dean 2009). The Supreme court case “Haida Nation v British Columbia (Minister of Forests), [2004] 3 S.C.R. 511” is the leading decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the Crown duty to consult Aboriginal groups prior to exploiting lands to which they may have claims. The British Columbia Court of Appeal decided that both the Crown and Weyerhauser Co. are under legal obligations to consult with Aboriginal groups whose interests may be affected (Haida Nation v BC, 2004). 

March 2005: The Island Spirit Uprising began. For two months Haida and supporters set up a series of roadblocks and halted major logging on Haida Gwaii. The Haida sought to block logging operations by forestry giant Weyerhaeuser (Dean, 2009). With the support of local communities like Port Clemens and Sandspit, Haida members manned blockades at the Yakoun and Hona rivers, set up checkpoints to record the names of people traveling to protected areas, and seized logs on their way out of the designated zones. Feasts were held in various communities on the islands in support of the action and people gathered to show support for the Haida as far away as Toronto and New York (Dean, 2009). “Many young Haida and non-Haida, joined the blockade as well, tired of watching barges leave the island loaded with valuable cedar, while jobs are hard to come by” (Ramsay, 2005). These actions were aimed at pushing the provincial government to begin high level negotiations with the Haida leadership. The Haida sought a significant drop in the annual allowable cut and changes to the way resources were managed. The Haida sought to become a major tree license holder on the islands (Ramsay, 2005). “This action was taken in response to what they felt were violations of a six point agreement the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) had reached with Weyerhaeuser over logging practices in 2002, as well as the failure of the Government of British Columbia to fulfill its responsibility to consult with the Haida on forestry policy as it had been ordered to do by the supreme court of Canada in a recent ruling” (Dean, 2009). “These blockades and demonstrations seemingly succeeded where court action could not since after weeks of negotiation the CHN and the province reached an agreement to resume the land-use planning process and suspend further logging in the contested areas” (Dean, 2009). 

2007: CHN and the provincial government signed the Haida Gwaii Strategic Land Use Agreement, based on the concept of ‘Eco-system Based Management’ (EBM). 

2009: B.C. and Haida sign the ‘HISTORIC RECONCILIATION PROTOCOL’ stating that resource decisions on Haida Gwaii are to be reached through consensus with representatives from both the government and Haida Nation​ (Kurjata, 2017). 

2011: The Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order to set up new protected areas near the Husby’s logging operations by Naden Harbour and Eden Lake (Hudson, 2018b). 

2017: Conflict erupts again on Haida Gwaii when B.C. government sold logging rights for two blocks of land known as Nadu River and Lawn Hill without permission from or consensus with the Haida. The total stumpage value of the two sites is roughly $1.7 million. The Haida opposed the sale because 50 per cent of the stands in question are cedar, a tree central to Haida culture.​ Haida leader kil tlaats 'gaa said "We want the local benefits…The future for the island is local control, local opportunity, local benefit, local decision-making" (Kurjata, 2017a) Letters were sent from the Haida to the two companies who recently purchased logging rights on Haida Gwaii, saying that because the Haida Nation did not approve the purchases, they will not be recognized (Kurjata 2017b). Old Massett launches blockade against logging close to New Town (Hudson, 2017) 

2018: A blockade is set up by number of Old Massett Haidas and supporters are calling for an end to logging at Collison Point / St’alaa Kun. “We’re just tired of watching our forests and our future leave on every barge,” said Lisa White, spokesperson of Haida Gwaii Land Protectors. “It’s been happening my whole life, and then some — it’s been 100 years of clear-cutting and logging, and they’re leaving us with nothing….It’s totally against how our Haida people treated the land, and it’s destroying our salmon rivers. We want it to stop” (Hudson, 2018b). 

April 2018: Husby Forest Products filed for the injunction against a protest at Collison Point / St’alaa Kun (Hudson, 2018a). Attempts at negotiating a resolution to the blockade have not been successful. Collison Point has been the main logging area for Husby Forest Products since 2011, when the Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order set up new protected areas near the company’s earlier operations by Naden Harbour and Eden Lake (Hudson, 2018b). The CHN has said that Husby is harvesting cedar well above agreed to (but nonbinding) harvest limits. “There’s no legal teeth” said Lisa White. “In the meantime, they’re taking all our cedar” (Hudson, 2018b). 

June 2018: Husby Forest Products faced allegations of over-logging on Haida Gwaii and has stopped all logging operations in disputed areas, and as a result has laid off many of its employees. Husby Forest Products is under investigation by the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development’s enforcement and compliance branch over allegations of logging centuries-old cedars. In addition, the company is the subject of a court petition filed by the Haida Nation, which demands a halt to permits in five different logging areas on Haida Gwaii (Mui, 2018).

Basic Data

NameHaida Gwai Forestry Conflicts
CountryCanada
ProvinceBritish Columbia
SiteHaida Gwaii
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Deforestation
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific CommoditiesTrees, especially cedar.
Timber

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsThere has been massive amounts of logging of cedar, hemlock and Sitka spruce trees, including old growth, on Haida Gwai since the 1970s. There have been multiple logging companies involved including Weyerhaeuser and Western Forest Products and multiple contractors including Frank Beban Logging Ltd.

Through decades of resistance and alternative visions by the Haida nation, currently more than half of the area of Haida Gwaii is protected.
Project Area (in hectares)1,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population4,500
Start Date1975
Company Names or State EnterprisesWestern Forest Products from Canada - Had the cutting rights to Lyell Island in the 80s
Frank Beban Logging Ltd. from Canada - Was the contractor for Lyell island cutting in the 80s
Infinity West Enterprises Inc. from Canada - The company won bid for the Nadu River block of land in 2017
Weyerhaeuser from United States of America - Once had Tree Farm Licence on Haida Gwaii
Brookfield Asset Management Inc. from Canada - Previously known as Brascan, thi company help Tree Farm licences in Haida Gwaii
O’Brien & Fuerst Logging from Canada - O’Brien & Fuerst Logging won logging contract in 2016, which was approved by the province but not by the Council of the Haida Nation at the Solutions Table
Husby Forest Products from Canada - Husby was actively logging around Naden Harbour and Eden Lake, until 2011 when they had to cease operations there due to the area becoming a newly protected area. After that they logged at Coliision Point. When protests began at Collision Point, Husby filed an injunction against the protest. A of 2018 Husby Forest Products faced allegations of over-logging on Haida Gwaii. It has stopped all logging operations in disputed areas, and laid off many of its employees.
Relevant government actorsHaida Nation

Federal Government

BC Provincial Government

B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

B.C. Timber Sales

Ministry of Forests

Misty Isles Economic Development Society (MIEDS)

The South Moresby Planning Table

Island Community Stability Initiative
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersHaida Nation

http://www.haidanation.ca/

Haida Gwaii Land Protectors

https://www.facebook.com/pg/haidagwaiilandprotectors/about/

Moresby Island Concerned Citizens

B.C.'s Sierra Club

https://sierraclub.bc.ca/about/

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Haida Nation
Haida Gwaii Land Protectors
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
"They set up checkpoints to record the names of people traveling to protected areas, and seized logs on their way out of the designated zones. Feasts were held in various communities on the islands in support of the action and people gathered to show support for the Haida as far away as Toronto and New York" (Dean, 2009)

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil erosion, Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow)
Other Massive destruction of salmon spawning grounds, severe erosion problems.
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Other Health impacts
OtherDue to logging, it has become much more difficult to gather traditional foods
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts

Outcome

Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Moratoria
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project temporarily suspended
Haida Gwaii Strategic Land Use Agreement, based on the concept of ‘Eco-system Based Management’ (EBM), Other protocols such as the reconciliation protocol and other land use agreements.
Development of AlternativesCreation of 1,495-squarekilometre Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, co-managed by the Haida and the Canadian government.

New forms of logging practices and co-management regimes.

The 1985 protests marked the end of one epoch and the beginning of another, an end of the time when governments could ignore First Nations” (Pynn, 2010)
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Old growth forests have been protected, new forms of co-managements have been forged and Indigenous rights have been strengthened. Haida resistance has helped bring about treaty recognition for First Nations in Canada.

Justice is still incomplete as Haida continue to face unwanted logging pressures from companies and government.

Sources and Materials

Legislations

(Haida Nation v BC, 2004) Haida Nation v British Columbia (Minister of Forests), [2004] 3 S.C.R. 511
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haida_Nation_v_British_Columbia_(Minister_of_Forests)

References

(Dean, 2009) “WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO THE LAND, THEY ARE DOING TO US”: ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS ON HAIDA GWAII". UBC
https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/thesescanada/vol2/BVAU/TC-BVAU-13912.pdf

Links

(Mui, 2018) B.C. forestry company responds to over-logging allegations. The Star Vancouver
https://www.thestar.com/vancouver/2018/06/21/bc-forestry-company-responds-to-over-logging-allegations.html

(Kurjata, 2017a) On Haida Gwaii, logging plans expose rift in reconciliation. CBC
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/haida-gwaii-reconciliation-logging-clear-cut-1.4429532

(Kurjata, 2017 b) Tension escalates in Haida Gwaii forestry dispute. CBC News
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/forestry-haida-gwaii-cuts-1.4449770

(Ramsay, 2005) Revolution on Haida Gwaii -Spring’s blockades yield big changes to logging and hunting. The Tyee
https://thetyee.ca/News/2005/06/21/RevolutionHaida/

(Hudson, 2018b) Logging protest at Collison Point. Haida Gwaii Observer
https://www.haidagwaiiobserver.com/local-news/logging-protest-at-collison-point/

(Husdon, 2018a) Court to rule on Husby injunction against protest at Collison Point. Haida Gwaii Observer
https://www.haidagwaiiobserver.com/local-news/b-c-supreme-court-to-decide-on-injunction-against-collison-point-protest/

(Pynn, 2010) Lyell Island: 25 years later. Vancouver Sun
https://www.wildernesscommittee.org/news/lyell-island-25-years-later

(Hudson, 2017) Old Massett launches blockade against logging close to New Town. Haida Gwaii Observer
https://www.haidagwaiiobserver.com/local-news/old-massett-residents-and-supporters-put-up-logging-blockade/

Media Links

(Tremel, 1985) Loggers confront Haida blockade. CBC Archives
https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/loggers-confront-haida-blockade

Other Documents

Haida Gwaii Unceded Territory Sourced from: https://www.facebook.com/haidagwaiilandprotectors/?ref=br_rs
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Haida_Gwaii_Unceded_land.jpg

Logging on Haida Gwaii Sourced from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/haida-gwaii-reconciliation-logging-clear-cut-1.4429532
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Haida_Forrestry_Landscape.jpg

Logging on Haida Sourced from: https://haidagwaiitrader.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=278:logging-on-haida-gwaii-shared-perspectives&catid=45:articles&Itemid=121
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/loggingonhaida.png

Protest at Collison Point / St’alaa Kun Sourced from: https://www.haidagwaiiobserver.com/local-news/b-c-supreme-court-to-decide-on-injunction-against-collison-point-protest/
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Trees_for_Locals_Haida_Gwaii.jpg

Community Forest, Haida Nation Sourced from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/forestry-haida-gwaii-cuts-1.4449770




https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/community-forest-haida-nation.png

Meta Information

ContributorJen Gobby
Last update19/03/2019

Images

 

Protest at Collison Point / St’alaa Kun

Sourced from: https://www.haidagwaiiobserver.com/local-news/b-c-supreme-court-to-decide-on-injunction-against-collison-point-protest/

Haida Gwaii Unceded Territory

Sourced from: https://www.facebook.com/haidagwaiilandprotectors/?ref=br_rs

Logging on Haida Gwaii

Sourced from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/haida-gwaii-reconciliation-logging-clear-cut-1.4429532

Logging on Haida

Sourced from: https://haidagwaiitrader.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=278:logging-on-haida-gwaii-shared-perspectives&catid=45:articles&Itemid=121

Community Forest, Haida Nation

Sourced from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/forestry-haida-gwaii-cuts-1.4449770