will_kateDuke and Duchess of Cambridge to Visit to Bella Bella

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit the Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bella on Monday, September 26, 2016.

We are very pleased that our community is included in their tour of BC, said Chief Marilyn Slett. “What better way for  the Duke and Duchess to learn about the people who live in the Great Bear Rainforest than to come to our territories.   While in our community they will see a strong and vibrant community and culture.”

Chief Slett said the Duke and Duchess would witness a very small part of the Heiltsuk culture and see firsthand what makes the Global treasure known as the Great Bear Rainforest so special. “For the past decade the Heiltsuk have worked hard to strengthen the connections between our community, our environment, and our economy. We remain steadfast in our conviction that the environment shouldn’t be sacrificed to build a healthy coastal economy.  One of the guiding principles we follow and instill in others is that our stewardship responsibilities are deeply rooted in Aboriginal Rights and Title (or Heiltsuk laws). Our ancestors and our Hemas have taught us that those rights and responsibilities are integral to our history, our identity, and our future.”

The itinerary for September 26 will be released once it is finalized.

May 17, 2016

Communication

We understand our membership is alarmed by today’s information bulletin on the BC Government News website. So are we. We want to stress to the Heiltsuk people that our Nation has not approved or consented to any LNG projects, or negotiated IBAs with any LNG proponents.  The information bulletin from the BC Government severely mischaracterizes the nature of our regional conversation with BC around LNG. At a joint governance meeting with Heiltsuk Tribal Council and the Heiltsuk Hemas Council in March 2016 we collectively decided to proceed with a Letter of Understanding on Environmental Quality, North Coast Skills and Training, and the conclusion of the Atmospheric Benefit Sharing Agreement. None of these constitute support for LNG. This followed the community feedback we’d received about seeking training dollars and fighting for a voice at the table on marine shipping safety.

Nowhere in that agreement do we gesture support for LNG. Nor would we do so without a clear mandate from the people. We intend to make our objection known to the BC Government, and Coastal First Nations are preparing a clarifying statement as well.