British Columbia’s Premier says the Fairy Creek protestors need to leave and listen to the requests of the Pacheedaht First Nation.
His comment’s come a day after the Vancouver Island First Nation issued a statement saying its constitutional right to make decisions about forestry in its territory must be respected, and that it does not welcome “unsolicited interference,” including third-party activism.
“I know the rights and titleholders in the territory have asked them to move along, and allow the people in the community to peacefully figure out where they want to go on their territory,” said Premier John Horgan on Tuesday.
The Pacheedaht First Nation’s land includes Fairy Creek, a pristine watershed near Port Renfrew that has been the centrepiece of a battle between anti-logging demonstrators who have set up blockades and forestry company Teal Jones. It’s also within Premier Horgan’s riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca.
A court-ordered injunction was served to protesters last week ordering the dismantling of the blockades so that Teal Jones could resume its work, but so far they have defied the order.
Now, as the fight between the logging company and protestors comes to a head, the Pacheedaht First Nation are telling the protestors to back off and let them fight their own battle.
But those on the blockade front line, including Shawna Knight and Kim Murray, say they stand with First Nation, but only to a certain point.
“Pacheedaht territory, Pacheedaht decision,” said Knight.
“I do agree that the Pacheedaht community as a whole should have say over what goes on in their territory. I support that 100 percent,” Murray said.
However, they stop shy of taking down the barricade preventing Teal Jones from logging in the Fairy Creek watershed, despite the wishes of the hereditary chief and the elected chief of the Pacheedaht.
Read: Letter from the Pacheedaht First Nation here
“The views of the community may not be represented in the orders and quotes of a three person band council,” Knight said.
Fundraising for the blockades is closing in on $300,000, well on its way to $500,000.
“Honestly, I’m not sure about what it’s going to take,” Murray said. “But if we could all take a minute. Once this is gone, it’s gone forever.”
It’s not clear when and if these blockades are coming down anytime soon.