The astonishing reinvention of Donald Trump

US president has quickly adopted the stance of the Washington insider

by: Edward Luce 14 April 2017

Barely 4 per cent of Washington’s residents voted for Donald Trump last November — the lowest share in the country. If the election were held in the US capital again today, it is a fair bet Mr Trump would clear double digits.

Washingtonians are still puzzling at the speed with which the man who promised to “drain the swamp” is now basking in its approval. In the past 10 days, Mr Trump has belied many of the city’s worst fears. Having promised to launch a trade war with China, Mr Trump is rapidly abandoning his protectionist rhetoric. Likewise, having vowed to avoid foreign wars, he has acquired a sudden taste for Levantine missile launches. And having dismissed Nato as obsolete, Mr Trump is now singing the alliance’s praises.

He has even spoken harshly about Vladimir Putin, his erstwhile role model. In a city famous for its pragmatism, Mr Trump is breaking all records for breaking campaign promises — and all within his first hundred days. It is tempting to conclude Mr Trump is pulling off the biggest bait and switch in electoral history.
He’s a divorced adulterer who ran a gambling empire, so how did America’s Moral Majority get so evangelical about Donald Trump?

He came to office as an outsider. But he has quickly adopted the stance of the Washington insider. This reading is unlikely to hold for long. As Mr Trump’s stock has risen in Washington, his poll numbers continue to plummet in the rest of America. At 36 per cent, his Gallup approval rating is dramatically lower than any US president in history at this stage of his administration.

In a special election in Kansas earlier this week, the Republican candidate just clung on to a district that Mr Trump had won by 27 percentage points last November. Another election in Georgia next week could provide further signs of a sagging Republican brand.

The further Mr Trump’s numbers fall outside of Washington’s beltway, the more difficult he will find it to achieve anything inside it. Mr Trump has been unable to push any legislation through a Republican controlled Congress. No president in US history has had such a poor opening period. Another missile strike may boost Mr Trump’s ranking with television pundits. But it is unlikely to improve his leverage with anxious Republicans.

Mr Trump will be looking for ways to restore his poll numbers. It is possible he could fire Stephen Bannon, his chief strategist and a co-author of his “America First” campaign. Rarely has a political star faded as fast as Mr Bannon’s. But Mr Bannon has strong defenders both inside and outside the White House. Among them is Jeff Sessions, the hardline attorney-general, who is quietly implementing many of Mr Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign promises. In an interview this week, Mr Sessions came strongly to Mr Bannon’s defence.

Another is Robert Mercer, the hedge fund tycoon, who bankrolled much of Mr Trump’s campaign. Mr Mercer, and his daughter, Rebekah, own a stake in Breitbart News, the hard right website that played a role in Mr Trump’s victory — and which used to be run by Mr Bannon. If Breitbart turned on Mr Trump, and resumed its negative coverage of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, he could lose a large chunk of his core supporters. It is hard to believe Mr Trump would go to war with his own base.

Then there is Mr Trump’s capricious nature. Friends of the president say he is heavily influenced by the last person to whom he has spoken. In recent days that has included Xi Jinping, China’s president. It has also included a number of Middle Eastern leaders. Each of them is happy with Mr Trump’s abrupt recent policy changes.

But Mr Trump’s U-turns offer little guarantee for the future. As Mr Bannon is discovering, Mr Trump has no fixed loyalties. There is less to America’s president than meets the eye.

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The Folly of Global Warming

President Trump’s unfortunate and misguided rollback of environmental protections has led to a depressing and widespread belief that the United States can no longer meet its commitment under the Paris climate change agreement. But here’s the good news: It’s wrong.

No matter what roadblocks the White House and Congress throw up, the United States can — and I’m confident, will — meet the commitment it made in Paris in 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet. Let me explain why, and why correcting the false perception is so important.

Those who believe that the Trump administration will end American leadership on climate change are making the same mistake as those who believe that it will put coal miners back to work: overestimating Washington’s ability to influence energy markets, and underestimating the role that cities, states, businesses and consumers are playing in driving down emissions on their own.

Though few people realize it, more than 250 coal plants — almost half of the total number in this country — have announced in recent years that they will close or switch to cleaner fuels. Washington isn’t putting these plants out of business; the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan hasn’t even gone into effect yet.

They are closing because consumers are demanding energy from sources that don’t poison their air and water, and because energy companies are providing cleaner and cheaper alternatives. When two coal plant closings were announced last week, in southern Ohio, the company explained that they were no longer “economically viable.” That’s increasingly true for the whole industry.

A week before President Trump signed the executive order to begin rolling back the Clean Power Plan, Moody’s Investor Service released a report concluding that wind power could displace up to two-thirds of coal-fired power production in 15 Midwestern states. The reason? The average cost of wind power has dropped to $20 per megawatt, compared with the more than $30 cost per megawatt for electricity from many coal plants in the region. Why would consumers pay more for a power source that may kill them?

In 2010, airborne coal pollution was killing 13,000 Americans a year, according to the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit environmental group. Today, that number is about 7,500. When politicians talk about the “war on coal,” they never mention the lives being saved.

There is virtually nothing the Trump administration can do to stop advanced technology and consumer preferences from driving down coal’s market share still further. (A decade ago, coal was the source of half of American electricity production; today it’s down to one-third.) In fact, even if the Clean Power Plan disappears entirely, we would still be in a position to meet our Paris commitment, which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Consider the data. When we made the commitment in Paris, we were already about a third of the way there, thanks mostly to the closing of so many coal plants. The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, which works to replace coal with cleaner forms of energy (and which my foundation supports), projects that more plant closings will get us to nearly two-thirds of our goal.

In combination with existing federal policies that can’t be undone, like vehicle fuel efficiency standards through model year 2021, the last third can be achieved by cities and businesses that are taking action to cut pollution and improve their energy efficiency. This week, many of the 81 major corporations (including Apple and Wal-Mart) that signed a pledge in 2015 to reduce their emissions reaffirmed their commitments, and Anheuser-Busch InBev announced that it aims to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. (My company is pursuing the same goal.)

No mandate from Washington is forcing these companies to act — just their own self-interest.

Cities, too, are acting out of self-interest. By improving their air quality and becoming greener, cities turn into more attractive places to live and work. And where people want to live and work, businesses want to invest. That’s Economics 101, and mayors understand it even when Washington doesn’t.

In both red and blue states, cities — which account for about two-thirds of the country’s emissions — are taking the lead in the fight against climate change. More than 130 American cities have joined the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, and all are determined to see that we meet our Paris goal. Their local policies — expanding mass transit, increasing the energy efficiency of their buildings, installing electric vehicle charging stations, creating bike share programs, planting trees, to name just a few — will help ensure we do.

There is a real danger in failing to recognize the tremendous progress we’re making. Claims that the United States will no longer be able to meet its Paris obligations give other countries an excuse to walk away from theirs. How terrible it would be if a misunderstanding of American climate leadership — which is not based in Washington and never has been — led to an unraveling of the Paris agreement.

I wish President Trump and his administration would recognize the health, economic and environmental benefits of tackling climate change. But their failure to do so is no reason to be despondent. Thanks to forces beyond the Washington Beltway that have reached a critical mass, we should be more optimistic than ever about our ability to lead — and win — the fight against climate change.

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The Rise and Fall of President Trump

The New York Times can often be credited with having some of the best journalism in America. Here is one of those rare examples. The article describes the rise of the non-politician, deal-making businessman who won an abnormal Presidency. As he attempted to control the political process with his prowess, he stumbled into the morass he tried to clean up.  The following story best describes the process Trump has waded through as the country’s new leader gropes through Congress to find his feet and make America Great again. Understanding how Trump will adjust to his new surroundings and what his chances will be for eventual success are greatly furthered by reading this article.

After the president suffered his first defeat on Capitol Hill, can the White House still make good on its legislative promises?


On Monday, Jan. 9, less than two weeks before President Trump’s inauguration, the House speaker, Paul Ryan, hosted a dinner at his office in the Capitol with members of Trump’s inner circle. The guests included the president-elect’s chief White House strategist, Stephen K. Bannon; his son-in-law and family consigliere, Jared Kushner; his chief of staff, Reince Priebus; his economic adviser, Gary Cohn; his nominee for Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin; his incoming deputy chief of staff, Rick Dearborn; and his legislative-affairs director, Marc Short. The ostensible purpose of the dinner was to discuss the details of Trump’s legislative agenda — in particular, the prospects for a sweeping tax-reform measure that Republicans, and especially Ryan, have been coveting for the past decade.

It was hoped that the dinner could also establish some sort of common ground between Ryan and Bannon, the two figures who would arguably wield the greatest influence over how Trump’s campaign promises became law — or didn’t. Ryan was a fixture among establishment Republicans even before joining Mitt Romney’s presidential ticket in 2012, his previous labors on the House Budget Committee cementing his reputation as the charts-and-graphs wizard of fiscal conservatism. Bannon, by contrast, was a renegade autodidact who read Plato and had seemingly materialized from nowhere to become the intellectual architect of Trump’s campaign and, later, administration.

Up to this point, Ryan had epitomized to Bannon everything that was wrong with the Republican Party. Discussing the two parties’ shortcomings, Bannon later told me, “What’s that Dostoyevsky line: Happy families are all the same, but unhappy families are unhappy in their own unique ways?” (He meant Tolstoy.) “I think the Democrats are fundamentally afflicted with the inability to discuss and have an adult conversation about economics and jobs, because they’re too consumed by identity politics. And then the Republicans, it’s all this theoretical Cato Institute, Austrian economics, limited government — which just doesn’t have any depth to it. They’re not living in the real world.”

Breitbart News, the far-right media outlet Bannon ran before becoming the chief executive of the Trump campaign in August, had described Ryan, referring to his position on immigration, as “arguably the most pro-amnesty G.O.P. lawmaker in Congress” — an apostasy of nearly impeachable proportions from Bannon’s perspective. Worst of all, Ryan all but abandoned Trump during the 2016 campaign. After the leak in October of the damaging “Access Hollywood” tape, Ryan told fellow Republican House members on a conference call, “I am not going to defend Donald Trump — not now, not in the future.” A Republican lawmaker on the call told Trump what Ryan had said, yet another reason for Bannon to regard himself as Ryan’s worst enemy.

But as the dinner progressed, it became clear that Bannon and Ryan actually had some ideas in common. Over memorably bad chicken Parmesan, Ryan described his vision for a “border-adjustment tax,” which would levy taxes on imports while offering exemptions for exports. His tax package would include “immediate expensing,” he explained, in which capital expenditures would be written off against profits in the first year rather than over time. It also would abolish the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax.

These were ideas Ryan had been pushing since 2008. Now they had Bannon’s attention. Taken together with a drastic reduction in corporate taxes, Bannon believed, Ryan’s scheme would spur a renaissance of a manufacturing-based export economy, producing high-income labor in keeping with Trump’s populism. “I would actually say,” Bannon remembers observing admiringly, “that this tax reform comes as close to a first step of economic nationalism as there is.”

“I would call it ‘responsible nationalism,’ ” Ryan said, according to Bannon. Bannon laughed. “You’re going to have a lot of folks in the Senate say this is breathtakingly radical.”

He meant it as a compliment. To Bannon, the entire world order — from the two political parties to the Wall Street reliance on leveraging to multiculturalism — was undergoing an extraordinary realignment, one made manifest in the 2016 election. According to Bannon’s vision, economic nationalism would reorient priorities to the working class’s benefit. Trade deals, jobs programs, tax incentives, immigration restrictions, environmental deregulation and even foreign policy would ultimately serve to restore the primacy of those Trump called “the forgotten Americans.”

In March, when I spoke to Trump by phone, I asked him what the term “economic nationalism” meant to him. Compared with Bannon’s revolutionary fervor, his reply was surprisingly cautious. “Well, ‘nationalism’ — I define it as people who love the country and want it to do good,” he said. “I don’t see ‘nationalism’ as a bad word. I see it as a very positive word. It doesn’t mean we won’t trade with other countries.”

Trump’s tone was genial but also a touch defensive. His postelection honeymoon had been short, if it existed at all. There were the administrative intrigues and self-inflicted Twitter drama, along with the questions about his campaign’s contacts with Russia, which had already forced the resignation of his national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Still, Trump’s legislative liaisons and their counterparts on Capitol Hill were doggedly negotiating a rollout of the Trump Era, one that would fulfill his most significant campaign promises — those that could not be done with just a stroke of Trump’s own pen but required acts of Congress.

First, Obamacare would be repealed and replaced. Next, an austere budget would be passed, with emergency funds allotted for the construction of a wall along the Southern border. Then would come a tax-reform plan, presumably of the type Ryan and Bannon discussed. And finally, a bipartisan coalition would deliver a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan to Trump’s desk. If all this came to pass by the end of 2017, it would lend some credence to Trump’s pledge that this would be “the busiest Congress we’ve had in decades.” But by March, this timetable was looking like a formidable “if.”

Trump himself seemed prone to distraction as he spoke to me from the Oval Office. Though I was asking about his policy aims, his musings swerved off to other vexations. More than once he denounced as “fake news” reports about his administration’s supposed disharmony. He brought up his speech before the joint session of Congress in February, “which I hope you liked, but I certainly have gotten great reviews — even the people who hate me gave me the highest review.” During the call, I could hear Priebus nearby, occasionally murmuring encouragement.

Trump sounded more clipped and less jaunty on the call than he did during the discursive chats I had with him last year on the campaign trail. The business of governing had little to do with any trade he had previously practiced. In Congress, he was grappling with an arcane and famously inefficient ecosystem over which he had little if any control — and people he incessantly derided on the campaign trail as being “all talk and no action.” I asked him if he still felt that way. “It’s like any other industry,” he replied, somewhat morosely. “I’ve met some great politicians and some, to be honest, who aren’t so hot.”

Trump wanted to make sure that he was given adequate credit for his achievements, even in his administration’s infancy. “We’ve only been here for a tiny speck of time,” he said, “and what I’ve done with regulations, moving jobs back into the country, what I’ve done with airplane pricing and buying is amazing. We’ve done a lot. I think we’ve done more than anybody for this short period of time.” Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson would take exception to this claim. And Trump’s significant actions to date have consisted entirely of executive orders. What he has not yet demonstrated is his ability to actually shepherd a bill into law.

The only major legislation that congressional committees have even seen thus far is a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, which met with a stunning rebuke from Trump’s own party, forcing Ryan to withdraw the measure on the afternoon of March 24. At this stage of his presidency, Barack Obama had already signed into law his $787 billion economic-stimulus package and had moved on to holding White House meetings on health care. It’s conceivable that Trump could hit Day 100 with only minor symbolic legislative achievements to his name. For him to avoid this ignominy, the 45th president will have to develop a rapport with Washington’s 535 federal deal makers, including the ones who “aren’t so hot.”

Whether Trump’s agenda succeeds will also depend in no small measure on the ability of Bannon to expand his game beyond 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. At 63, and with a fortune reported to be in the tens of millions of dollars — partly through his investment in the company that owns the syndication rights to “Seinfeld” — Bannon is regarded by Trump as a peer in the way that, say, the 45-year-old lifelong politico Priebus is not. He is also approvingly seen as a fellow workaholic by the president (whose only known hobbies are golf and hate-watching CNN). And he is a deft operator who has learned from the successes and failures of other Trump advisers.

He has carefully not claimed credit that the president would wish for himself and avoids giving expansive interviews on his own controversial views that might detract from his boss’s celebrity. Like the former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Bannon understands that power in Trump World derives mainly from close and sustained physical proximity to the boss. Unlike Lewandowski, Bannon immediately grasped the importance of maintaining close relations with Jared Kushner, who factored heavily in Lewandowski’s dismissal from the Trump campaign last summer.

But like Kushner, Bannon has never worked in government or at a policy-making institute and has no meaningful experience when it comes to getting legislation passed. On the Hill, he has a few random associations — Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Representative John Culberson of Texas among them. Otherwise, he remains a looming but indistinct presence to the lawmakers who will be needed to pass most of Trump’s agenda.

Bannon’s interest in this agenda predated his association with Trump. One evening in January 2013, two guests showed up for dinner at the Capitol Hill townhouse that Bannon liked to call the Breitbart Embassy. One was the man Bannon would later describe to me as his “mentor”: Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. The other was Sessions’s top aide and protégé, a jittery 27-year-old named Stephen Miller.

Two months earlier, Obama decisively defeated Mitt Romney in the presidential election, prompting Priebus, then the chairman of the Republican National Committee, to commission an analysis of the state of the party and its future, known colloquially in Washington as the “autopsy,” which would be delivered that spring. The only certainty was that the report would urge Republicans to court the growing Latino electorate — which had voted for Obama by a 44-point margin that November — by championing comprehensive immigration reform. The three men at the dinner table that night were among the few Republicans in town who thoroughly rejected that conclusion.

Bannon wanted to talk to Sessions and Miller about a different report: an article written by Sean Trende, the senior elections analyst for the website RealClearPolitics, titled “The Case of the Missing White Voters.” Trende observed that Obama’s victory was less a function of increased minority turnout than of the fact that 6.6 million white voters who participated in the 2008 election stayed home in 2012. The reason for this drop, Trende argued, was that white working-class voters who did not approve of Obama but were alienated by Romney’s perceived elitism had not voted.

These votes were gettable, Bannon believed. As he would later tell me: “The working class, and in particular the lower middle class, understands something that’s so obvious — which is that they’ve basically underwritten the rise of China. Their jobs, their raises, their retirement accounts have all fueled the private equity and venture capital that built China. Because China’s really built on investments and exports, right? People are smart enough to know that they’re getting played by both political parties. The two may be different on social issues, but when it comes to fundamental economics, they’re both the same. That’s why the American working class is interested in trade. It’s linked to their lives.”

Sessions shared Bannon’s belief that the Republican Party needed to emphasize immigration reduction, border security and the preservation of working-class jobs through trade policy rather than courting Latino voters with a bill he regarded as “amnesty.” As Sessions would write in a memorandum to his Republican colleagues six months later, “This humble and honest populism — in contrast to the administration’s cheap demagoguery — would open the ears of millions who have turned away from our party.”

At some point during the five-hour dinner, Bannon recalls blurting out to Sessions, “We have to run you for president.” Just two years earlier, in 2011, he made a similar pitch to Sarah Palin, after completing a documentary about her called “The Undefeated.” Palin demurred. She was enjoying her life of celebrity and wealth, she had done little to immerse herself in policy minutiae and she was no doubt unsettled by Bannon’s warning that she stood little chance of defeating Obama.

Now he delivered a similar message to Sessions. “Look, you’re not going to win,” he recalls saying. “But you can get the Republican nomination. And once you control the apparatus, you can make fundamental changes. Trade is No.100 on the party’s list. You can make it No.1. Immigration is No.10. We can make it No.2.” Acknowledging that the drawling Alabama senator lacked Palin’s charisma, Bannon said, “You’ll be the anti-candidate.” But Sessions told Bannon he did not see himself running for president. “It was pretty obvious by the end of the night,” Bannon recalled, “that another candidate would have to do it.”

Two months later, on March 15, 2013, Bannon happened to be attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington when Trump took the stage. Trump had been a marginal figure at most in politics up to that point, entertaining a Reform Party run in the 2000 election — when he speculated that he would probably take more votes from the Democratic candidate than the Republican one — and leading a conspiratorial crusade in 2011 to force Obama to release his birth certificate. The possibility that he might be a suitable host body for Bannon’s worldview had not occurred to Bannon before Trump spoke.

But Trump’s grousing references to China’s economic superiority, to 11 million “illegals” and to the erosion of America’s manufacturing sector were right out of Bannon’s playbook. From his desk in the Russell Senate Office Building, Stephen Miller, too, watched Trump’s speech. By 2014, Miller was sending emails to friends expressing the hope that Trump would run for president. By the time Trump announced his candidacy, in June 2015, Sessions was officially uncommitted but privately of the view that Trump was best suited to tap into the movement that he, Miller and Bannon discussed over dinner more than two years earlier.

Bannon’s early support for Trump was manifest in Breitbart’s breathless coverage of his candidacy. In an email he sent on Aug. 30, 2015, to his former filmmaking partner Julia Jones, Bannon explained that while Republican candidates like Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina were “all great,” Trump represented a superior choice, because he “is a nationalist who embraces Senator Sessions’s plan” on immigration. Still, recalls Sam Nunberg, Trump’s first campaign strategist, “Steve kept all of his cards.” He added: “He was respectful to some of the other ones who were running, like Walker and Cruz and Carson. He didn’t want to be seen as Trump-bart.” When Trump publicly disparaged John McCain’s war-hero credentials, Bannon — himself a Navy veteran — called Nunberg and demanded that Trump issue an apology. (Trump did not.)

Bannon was well positioned as a supportive but not sycophantic observer by Aug. 13, 2016, when the Trump donor Rebekah Mercer read with alarm a New York Times account of the Trump campaign’s inability to handle its mercurial candidate. At Mercer’s behest, Bannon (whose website Mercer’s family helped underwrite) and Kellyanne Conway (who at that point was receiving money from both a Mercer family political action committee and the Trump campaign) flew out that day to East Hampton, N.Y., where Trump was attending a dinner fund-raiser at the home of the New York Jets’ owner, Woody Johnson. After the dinner, Bannon and Conway huddled with the candidate. Bannon remembers telling Trump, who at the time was trailing Hillary Clinton by double digits in the polls, “As long as you stick to the message” — by which he meant economic nationalism — “you have a 100 percent probability of winning.”

A week after the election, in an interview with the journalist Michael Wolff, Bannon offered a bold, sweeping sketch of what the vision might mean in policy terms: “Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement. It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy.” Of course, some of the conservatives Bannon intended to drive crazy possessed the congressional votes Bannon and Trump would need to advance this agenda. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, a leading conservative in the House, told me in March, “I would argue that populism, as long as it’s rooted in conservative principle, is a darn good thing.” Jordan was smiling as he said it, but the note of warning was hard to mistake.

The last time the Republican Party controlled all branches of government in Washington was from 2003 to 2007. During that period, the United States military toppled Saddam Hussein, Congress delivered tax cuts for the wealthy and President George W. Bush appointed the reliably conservative jurist Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court.

But in the collective view of conservatives, these years of the Bush presidency were mostly characterized by betrayal and disappointment. Goaded by Bush, congressional Republicans passed into law a new federal entitlement (prescription drugs for senior citizens, also known as Medicare Part D), ran up the deficit, promoted democratic ideals overseas in the feckless manner of Woodrow Wilson, considered a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and confirmed a Supreme Court chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr., whose swing vote would later save Obamacare from judicial evisceration. “My go-to line when I first ran in 2008 was, ‘Republicans had the House, the Senate and the White House — and they blew it,’ ” Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told me. “Now we’ve got all three again, and I’m the guy who’s in Congress, not running for it. I don’t want to be in a position where we’re going to blow it one more time.”

Chaffetz and other House conservatives freely acknowledge that Trump is not cut from their cloth, but they say they could not care less as long as he gives them what they want. Selecting Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat once held by Justice Antonin Scalia was “the best thing the president did in his first 50 days,” Chaffetz told me. He and his conservative colleagues have been cheered by Trump’s recruitment of former House colleagues and conservative stalwarts like Vice President Mike Pence; Tom Price, the health and human services secretary; and Mick Mulvaney, the Office of Management and Budget director.

When Chaffetz and I spoke in March, he had met with the president twice so far — access he considered “such a huge sea change” from the stony silence Republicans say they encountered from the Obama White House. Most important, the Trump agenda’s first three projected legislative moves — the Obamacare repeal and replacement, an austere budget and tax reform — were intended to keep conservatives happily in Trump’s camp. In turn, when the agenda moved on to less conservative items like infrastructure and trade agreements, Trump and Bannon would fully expect Republicans, including Ryan, to remember whose message resonated most with working-class voters last year.

Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, is Trump’s chief point of contact on the Hill. When McCarthy was a college student and budding entrepreneur in Bakersfield, Calif., in the late 1980s, his girlfriend at the time, now his wife, Judy, gave him an autographed copy of Trump’s “The Art of the Deal.” “I thought it was great,” he told me. In McCarthy’s view, Trump is a master of today’s media, much as Lincoln and Kennedy were in their own times. “He’s mastered instantaneous Twitter,” he said. “It’s like owning newspapers.”

Trump has found a kindred spirit in McCarthy, a coastal extrovert of ambiguous ideological portfolio who (unlike Ryan) would far rather talk about personalities than the tax code. And as the former minority leader in the California Legislature during the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger, McCarthy is experienced in the care and feeding of celebrity egos. Since Trump’s nomination, the two have spoken frequently by phone — to date, Trump has never been known to directly email or text anyone — about the cast of 535 characters with whom the president must now deal.

But in the end, what Trump needs from the majority leader is not gossip but votes — 216 of them, to be exact, in the House. And McCarthy’s recent track record in obtaining majorities has not been the greatest. In his previous capacity as House whip, he was thwarted by members of his own party when it came to subjects as diverse as reauthorizing a Patriot Act they deemed too intrusive, a farm bill they considered too expensive and a border-security bill they regarded as too lenient. His most reliable obstacles have been the three dozen or so House conservatives known as the Freedom Caucus, a two-year-old group of fiscal hard-liners. Early this year, McCarthy predicted to me that the new president would quickly subjugate the Freedom Caucus. “Trump is strong in their districts,” McCarthy told me. “There’s not a place for them to survive in this world.”

When we spoke on the morning of March 7, Trump assured me that he would not bully the Obamacare-replacement bill’s loudest Republican critics, like the Freedom Caucus chairman, Representative Mark Meadows, on Twitter: “No, I don’t think I’ll have to,” he said. “Mark Meadows is a great guy and a friend of mine. I don’t think he’d ever disappoint me, or the party. I think he’s great. No, I would never call him out on Twitter. Some of the others, too. I don’t think we’ll need to. Now, they’re fighting for their turf, but I don’t think they’re going to be obstructionists. I spoke to Mark. He’s got some ideas. I think they’re very positive.”

But on March 21, in a meeting with the Freedom Caucus about the bill, Trump called out Meadows by name, saying, “I’m going to come after you, but I know I won’t have to, because I know you’ll vote ‘yes.’ ” Meadows remained a “no” on the bill, and among conservatives, he was far from alone. One of the Freedom Caucus’s most outspoken members, Representative Raúl Labrador of Idaho, believes that the Trump White House was led astray by Ryan’s confidence that he knew what conservatives wanted when drafting the bill. “The legislation has to go through the body, not the top,” Labrador told me. “And if our leadership thinks now that we’re a unified body, that they can do things while ignoring us, that’s not going to happen.”

Labrador is an affable but decidedly stubborn 49-year-old Mormon and former immigration lawyer who moved as a child with his single mother from Puerto Rico to Las Vegas. He was interviewed by the president-elect for the post of interior secretary at Trump Tower last December — though Trump selected Labrador’s House colleague Ryan Zinke for the post a few days later.

For now, Labrador and other Freedom Caucus members have been willing to blame House leaders like Ryan and McCarthy for drafting a health care bill that was not to conservatives’ liking. They aspire to remain philosophical whenever Trump’s daughter Ivanka persuades her father to propose initiatives like paid family leave, as he did during his joint-session speech. “I didn’t stand up when he said that,” Labrador said. “That’s the only part of the speech where I thought, That’s not even close to what my party stands for.”

To House conservatives like Labrador, the Republican Party stands for limited government. To Trump and Bannon, big-ticket items like a border wall and infrastructure take priority over shrinking America’s debt. As Chaffetz admitted to me, “On the spending front, things could slip away really quickly.”

Trump’s budget blueprint is regarded by deficit hawks as fundamentally unserious, because it does not touch entitlements. Instead, it ravages perennial (and already pint-size) conservative piñatas like foreign aid, public broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts, in addition to downsizing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department — cuts that focus on the 27 percent of the federal budget that is not mandatory spending or devoted to defense. And for all the Republicans’ chesty rhetoric on cuts like these over the years, as a top House Republican staff member told me, “even the cabinet secretaries at the E.P.A. and Interior are saying these cuts aren’t going to happen. They’re going to protect their grant programs, their payments to states, their Superfunds. So how do you cut 31 percent of the E.P.A. out of the 5 percent that isn’t protected? And a bill that cuts all money for the N.E.A. will not pass. For Republicans in the West” — states whose vast rural areas benefit disproportionately from N.E.A. grants — “that’s a re-election killer. The campaign commercials write themselves.”

Labrador says he would defend Trump’s cuts but doubts that many of his colleagues would. “What he’s going to learn is that members of Congress are unwilling to take the tough votes,” he told me. “When he learns that, what’s going to be the next step?” In Labrador’s view, Trump’s only sane recourse will be to accept the need for entitlement reform. “At some point, the reality of the budget is going to have to hit him,” he said. “You can have this economic nationalism — Bannon is very smart, he clearly helped him with his messaging, it was so successful — but at some point, that theory is going to hit reality.”

When I spoke with Trump, I ventured that, based on available evidence, it seemed as though conservatives probably shouldn’t hold their breath for the next four years expecting entitlement reform. Trump’s reply was immediate. “I think you’re right,” he said. In fact, Trump seemed much less animated by the subject of budget cuts than the subject of spending increases. “We’re also going to prime the pump,” he said. “You know what I mean by ‘prime the pump’? In order to get this” — the economy — “going, and going big league, and having the jobs coming in and the taxes that will be cut very substantially and the regulations that’ll be going, we’re going to have to prime the pump to some extent. In other words: Spend money to make a lot more money in the future. And that’ll happen.” A clearer elucidation of Keynesian liberalism could not have been delivered by Obama.

The one clear point of agreement between the Trump economic nationalists and the House conservatives is the one Ryan and Bannon identified over dinner in January: tax reform. But in so doing, they will be picking a fight that may prove perilous to Republicans. The border-adjustment-tax proposal that Ryan floated to Bannon has never been able to get past K Street lobbyists and wealthy Republican donors like the Koch brothers.

When I asked Trump if he was a fan of the border-adjustment tax, he replied: “I am. I’m the king of that.” Almost no other country grafts an import tax onto a corporate tax, and it’s possible that enacting a border-adjustment tax might well be in violation of the World Trade Organization’s agreements. Of course, Bannon has openly advocated abandoning the W.T.O. anyway, because of China’s membership in it. Still, the specter of new taxes on American corporations, higher prices for consumers and a jump in the dollar’s value may compel an unusual confederacy against the tax-reform plan.

Labrador predicts that the border-adjustment tax “will have very little political legs” in the conservative House, while Senator Lindsey Graham said in February that even in the Republican-controlled Senate, Ryan’s tax plan “won’t get 10 votes.” Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat who has been outspoken in her willingness to work with Trump in spite of the broader stance of her party, says, “Let me tell you, I represent farmers, and anyone who tells me that farm country benefits from a high dollar needs to have a discussion with me.”

Perhaps the Republican faction most alarmed by Bannon’s economic nationalism is Washington’s military hawks. John McCain is among those not mollified by Trump’s pledge of enacting “one of the largest increases in national-defense spending in American history.” McCain scoffed when I brought this up to him. “Of course that’s simply not true,” he said. “When you look at 1981 and Reagan’s commitment to rebuilding the military, there’s no comparison to this 3 percent increase. It’s a shell game, my friend.”

Despite his obvious differences with Trump, McCain was willing to work with him — but Bannon’s presence seemed to confound such prospects. “It’s kind of interesting,” McCain said, “because I have decades of experience with Kelly, with Mattis, with Dan Coats, McMaster,” referring to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly; Defense Secretary James Mattis; Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence; and H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser. “We discuss issues all the time. I think this is probably the finest national-security team that I’ve ever observed. It’s almost schizophrenic, in that I obviously don’t have conversations with Steve Bannon, but I do with Reince Priebus — he was my Republican chair in Wisconsin in my 2008 presidential campaign. So it’s almost a schizophrenic — that’s not the right word. A very divided kind of relationship. Paradoxical.”

McCain acknowledged to me that economic nationalism was a global movement and therefore not entirely “the making of some members of the Trump entourage.” He then said: “But it is an articulation that I believe is strongly reminiscent of the 1930s. It certainly has unsettled our allies and friends around the world, there’s no doubt about that.” Already, the senator asserted, the new administration’s bellicosity toward Mexico has increased the likelihood that its citizens will elect “a very left-wing, anti-American president.” As for an import tax of the sort favored by Bannon and Ryan, “talk about harkening back to the 1930s,” he said. “It’s unbelievable to me that they somehow think if we start taxing goods coming across the border, that that’s somehow not going to be responded to by the Mexicans. Please. History shows this sort of action gets you into a trade war.”

Listening to McCain’s tirade, I found it evident that the Bannon Effect might well cost the Trump White House at least one Republican Senate vote on a number of central issues — this at a time when Republicans are clinging to a slender majority in the upper chamber. In such cases, Trump could find himself asking for something Obama was never able to count on: votes from the opposition.

Early in the afternoon of Feb. 9, several Democratic senators met with Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to discuss the Gorsuch nomination and other matters. Among them were Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana. All four are moderates who are up for re-election in 2018 in states Trump carried in 2016 by titanic margins — the least of which, in Donnelly’s state, was nearly 20 points. If Democrats are to nurture any hopes of retaking the Senate majority, they will need to hold these four seats.

But if Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin and Tester need to be seen back home as willing to work with Trump, the president needs them as well. Republicans enjoy a precarious 52-to-48 advantage in the Senate. On matters like the Supreme Court, Trump can count on all 52. On votes requiring a simple majority, any two of those Republicans could fall away, and Pence could preserve the win with a tiebreaking vote. But a trio of fiscal hard-liners (like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee), military hawks (John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio) or social moderates (Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Shelley Moore Capito) could deny Trump a majority, unless he could swing at least one Democrat to his side.

That February afternoon in the Roosevelt Room, Donnelly thanked Trump for negotiating with Carrier, the manufacturing company based in Indiana that had threatened to move jobs to Mexico before Trump arm-twisted it into keeping many of them in Indiana. But Donnelly urged him not to view that episode as a “one-off.” He requested the president’s support for his End Outsourcing Act, which would give preferential treatment in awarding federal contracts to businesses that kept jobs in America.

The words were scarcely out of Donnelly’s mouth before Trump said, “I’m 100 percent for that, and I’ll do everything I can to help get it passed.” He then asked Pence, who was in the room, “What do you think, Mike?” Trump was apparently unaware that Pence, as the governor of Donnelly’s state, had refused to back the senator’s initiative, claiming instead that burdensome federal regulations were to blame for outsourcing. According to Donnelly, Pence gamely replied, “If it’s like what Joe describes, I’ll do everything I can to help.”

Donnelly, a thick-handed Irish Catholic with a barroom guffaw, had met Trump once before. In January 2011, he was among the so-called Blue Dog Coalition, composed of conservative House Democrats — what remained of them, anyway, after the previous November’s disastrous midterms — who traveled to New York for their annual retreat. At a hotel conference room in Midtown Manhattan, the 20 or so Blue Dogs received a procession of guests, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former President Bill Clinton. Only one of their scheduled appointments required that they go to their guest — and so they did, by bus, to Trump Tower.

Trump greeted them in his boardroom, with its commanding view of Central Park. He was charming but also brash. “Remember, at that point he wasn’t really talking about running for office,” recalls one attendee, former Representative Dan Boren of Oklahoma. “But what strikes me was how he talked about the same issues — the wall, China — that became his stump speech years later.”

It was evident to the Blue Dogs that Trump was no Clinton or Bloomberg when it came to the issues. Says former Representative Ben Chandler of Kentucky, who was also in attendance: “The difference in terms of detailed knowledge of policy was stark. Trump just made bald assertions, really.” Particularly memorable to Chandler was Trump’s insistence “that one of the best things the country could do was slap a massive tariff on the Chinese.” Chandler continued: “He seemed not to understand that this would probably cause the entire world economy to melt down by causing a huge trade war. What I remember more than anything else was our general reaction afterward. And it was one of disbelief.”

Today Donnelly remains offended by what he calls Trump’s “crazy stuff,” as well as the alternative to Obamacare that Trump supported. But he does not begrudge Trump his showmanship. “He came to the Carrier plant,” Donnelly said. “I’ve been working on that issue since Day 1. I was begging people in the Obama administration to come out and talk to our workers. Donald Trump came out there. And Donald Trump talked to our workers. You can tell people you care. But it matters if you show up.”

The Senate Democrat who, to outward appearances, seems closest to Trump is Joe Manchin, who met face to face with the president-elect in Trump Tower in December. Before the meeting, Bannon took the West Virginia senator aside. “The thing you need to know about Trump,” Bannon said, “is he doesn’t care about the Republican Party and he doesn’t care about the Democratic Party. He just wants to put some wins on the board for the country.” In the meeting, Trump asked Manchin what could be done for coal miners. Manchin replied that he should support his Miners Protection Act, which would secure health benefits and pension funds for retired miners. According to Manchin, Trump replied that he would thoroughly support such a measure.

Later that month, Manchin went on “Morning Joe” — the one show on MSNBC that Trump has been known to watch — to discuss, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the Newtown school massacre, the need to expand background checks on gun purchases. Within an hour after Manchin was offscreen, his cellphone rang. It was Trump. Manchin was not completely forthcoming about the conversation, but he did tell me that he envisioned “a complete opportunity” for new gun-safety legislation. Unlike with Obama, he said, “no one thinks President Trump would do anything that would take away your gun rights.”

In his conversations with Manchin and Donnelly, Trump was essentially throwing his support behind a Democratic initiative without first checking with the Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, to ask what he thought of those proposals. Had he done so, the answer in each case would have been: not much. (Though on the coal miners’ legislation, Manchin said: “We’re seeing Mitch McConnell go from a ‘No, no and hell no’ to now dropping his own bill. Which is fine, so long as we get it.”) Still, Trump may have little choice but to indulge Democrats on some of their pet issues, given that he will need their votes on two of the most critical pieces of his agenda: infrastructure and trade deals.

Until now, Trump has divulged few details about this trillion-dollar infrastructure venture. On the campaign trail, he frequently cited America’s crumbling roads and bridges. He bemoaned the potholes defiling the runways at La Guardia Airport, where he parked his two planes. During Donnelly’s visit with Trump in the Roosevelt Room, the president “talked about the Queens-Midtown Tunnel with the tiles falling off, which he would see on his way to La Guardia,” Donnelly recalled. (The Metropolitan Transportation Authority denies that tiles are falling off the tunnel.)

When I asked Trump for more specifics, he gingerly offered a few morsels: “This is something that’s going to be a real infrastructure bill, where real work is going to be done on bridges and roads and airports and things that we’re supposed to be doing. So it’s not just a political piece of paper. We’re going to do infrastructure, and it’s going to be a very big thing.”

Trump’s description struck me as uncharacteristically modest. Bannon had evoked a more gleaming vision when he told me: “Look, economic nationalism is predicated on a state-of-the-art infrastructure for the country, right? Broadband as good as Korea. Airports as good as China. Roads as good as Germany. A rail system as good as France. If you’re going to be a world-class power, you’ve got to have a world-class infrastructure.”

When I asked the president if his initiative might include such features, he replied: “Yes. It could, it could. You look at Japan and China, where they have the fast trains, and we don’t have any. You look at other countries where we used to be the leader, and now we’re the laggard. It’s not going to happen anymore.”

What also may not happen is House Republicans’ supporting a trillion-dollar bill that is at least somewhat reminiscent of the stimulus bill they unanimously opposed eight years ago. It’s also possible that even moderate Democrats in swing states may face pressure not to come to Trump’s rescue. After all, the president remains intensely unpopular among Democrats, who continue to nurture hopes that Trump is one Russia connection away from impeachment. As a senior White House official told me of Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court: “The comment we often get from Democrats is, ‘That’s a great nominee.’ Oh, so you’re voting for him? ‘I can’t.’ Why not? ‘My base would go crazy, and I’d be primaried.’ That environment has to change before we can have any of these conversations.”

On the morning of Feb. 2, two Democratic leaders on trade issues, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and Representative Richard Neal of Massachusetts — the ranking members of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees — met with Trump, along with a few of his advisers and Republican lawmakers. Trump had already greeted the day by threatening to yank federal funding from the University of California at Berkeley after acts of violence had forced the cancellation of the Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos’s speech on campus, and by taunting Arnold Schwarzenegger’s poor ratings on “The Apprentice” during the National Prayer Breakfast. Disquiet lingered from Trump’s travel ban on refugees and his surly phone conversation with the Australian prime minister the previous week. Amid this chaos — entirely to Bannon’s liking and grating to nearly everyone else in Washington — actual legislative activity was slowly unfolding.

Trump began the meeting by condemning the trade deals negotiated by his predecessors. The press pool was then ushered out before the Democrats could say anything in front of the cameras. When Neal was given a chance to speak, he informed Trump, Pence, Bannon, Kushner and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that America had in fact prospered as a result of past trade deals. Neal emphasized the crucial role that the Panama Canal played in the economic vitality of the Eastern Seaboard. Other than Ross, no one on Trump’s team seemed aware of this. “They were a bit surprised,” Neal later told me. He was also struck by the White House’s abhorrence of multilateral pacts, which seemed to him to be naïve. “The idea that you’re going to negotiate 148 bilateral agreements with W.T.O. members does not seem realistic,” Neal said. “The idea that we’re all of a sudden going to have a free-trade agreement with Great Britain, that’s going to take years to do.” Later, Neal said, Ross privately assured him that the Trump administration “would not give up on multilateral deals.”

Neal’s lecture signified the start of what is likely to be a long and at times contentious reckoning on the part of Trump and Bannon with the limits of their nationalist rhetoric. Of all the legislative lifts, none will be heavier than renegotiating trade agreements, which require fully two-thirds of the Senate. Scrounging up 15 Democratic senators who are willing to vote along with 52 Republicans would be a formidable enough task on any issue. But just as Democrats like Neal in the Northeast would fight for a trade deal that benefits their region, so will Republican lawmakers along the Southern border rebel at an effort to repeal Nafta. As McCain told me, “If you negated Nafta, it would send my state into a severe recession.” He assured me that Trump’s nationalist posture would not provoke only regional opposition. He conjured up another Republican era — not Reagan’s, not Bush’s, but instead that of Herbert Hoover, when two Republican lawmakers joined with a Republican president to design a protectionist initiative that ultimately caused American exports to plummet during the Great Depression. “Somewhere,” McCain said with a dark chuckle, “Mr. Smoot and Mr. Hawley are smiling.”

On Thursday, March 23, Trump hosted a morning meeting of Freedom Caucus holdouts in the Cabinet Room. Jeff Duncan, a congressman from South Carolina who was present, told me that Trump told them: “I need you guys. We need to put up a win. It’s not just about needing to repeal Obamacare — though we do. It’s also that a win here sets up a win for tax reform and gives us momentum going into infrastructure. And if the bill fails, it could derail all of that.”

With customary bravado, Trump told the conservative members that he didn’t want to squeak by with just a one-vote victory. “I want all 237 of you,” he said, according to Duncan, referring to the entire House Republican conference. That included the more moderate members, who had told Trump they felt that the White House wasn’t paying sufficient attention to their concerns. Later in the day, Trump hosted another meeting with the moderates, where Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania informed Trump that he remained a “no.” According to an attendee, Trump angrily informed Dent that he was “destroying the Republican Party” and “was going to take down tax reform — and I’m going to blame you.”

Until that day, Duncan had been an unyielding “no” on the bill. The previous week, he delivered an impassioned speech to the vice president and other Republicans, insisting that this vote constituted “our generation’s rendezvous with destiny — a real chance to roll back the size and scope of the federal government, returning some liberty back to the people through our actions to repeal Obamacare.” In a text to me, Duncan pointed to history: “39 men in a hot room in 1787 had the courage to break from the norm and empower a nation.”

But now the four-term congressman was, for the first time in his life, sitting across the table from a president who was personally appealing for his support. The White House was offering concessions and agreeing to them in writing. Duncan left the meeting and spent a few hours pondering, as he would later put it, “the greater opportunity we as Republicans have.” By that evening, Trump had won Jeff Duncan’s vote.

It wasn’t enough. The next afternoon, Ryan pulled the House health care bill, conceding that neither he nor the White House could muster enough votes.

“You get about nine months to do the big things,” Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, told me at the beginning of the year. Nine months seemed like a long time then, the calendar spacious and the legislative deal-making possibilities plentiful. But more than two of those months are gone already — and the path to future wins, as Trump foresaw in his meeting with the Freedom Caucus, is now more complicated. When he took office, Trump relished the prospect of becoming a new kind of deal maker in the White House. By the time I spoke with him in early March, however, he already seemed to be taking stock of the limits to his powers. He still saw himself as the closer in chief — but then that was “typical, I would think, of a president,” he mused. “Some more than others.”

Robert Draper is a writer at large for the magazine. He last wrote about the almost seven year battle by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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The Role of Ivanka Trump in the New US Presidential Administration

22 March 2017 London

FBI and NSA chiefs give Trump his worst day yet Premium Clash with intelligence community heads for point of no return.

Virtually every day since Donald Trump took office has yielded a “could not make this up” moment. But Monday’s Congressional hearings — and Mr Trump’s live tweeting on the proceedings — may have killed fiction stone dead. The heads of the FBI and the NSA all but testified that the US commander-in-chief has been plucking conspiracy theories from thin air. As James Comey and Mike Rogers were speaking, Mr Trump was busy discovering things they did not say.

“The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence the electoral process,” Mr Trump tweeted. This came out moments after Mr Comey confirmed that the FBI was investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. By any measure — and it is a steep yardstick — it was the worst day so far for Mr Trump.

In a juxtaposition without precedent in American history, two of the administration’s most senior officials directly contradicted the sitting US president over an inquiry that could lead to criminal indictments of his campaign team. Even if the FBI investigation came to naught, their testimony has fatally undermined Mr Trump’s authority. When asked whether he agreed with the British government’s dismissal of Mr Trump’s allegation that it had spied on him as “nonsense” and “ridiculous”, Admiral Rogers unhesitatingly agreed.

To underline: the head of America’s largest intelligence agency backed a foreign power’s scathing characterisation of his own president’s words. Not even Richard Nixon suffered such a direct contradiction. Where does this leave Mr Trump? First of all it guarantees that the Russia cloud will hang over the Trump administration at least until the various investigations are over — and only then, if they decline to prosecute.

They could take months and possibly years to wrap up. All the while, speculation is likely to be fuelled by more leaks, and more embarrassing testimonies. That is without Mr Trump adding new conspiracy theories into the mix. Second, Mr Trump is now fully committed to a false version of events that has been rebutted by the US intelligence agencies, the Republican heads of the congressional intelligence committees and virtually everyone else in a position to know.

Mr Trump has had multiple chances to walk away from his outlandish tweets claiming Barack Obama had ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower. Instead, he has embroiled the governments of two of America’s closest allies, the UK and Germany, in a fabulous tale rather than admit he made a mistake.

The big puzzle is why Mr Trump would wreak such large collateral damage on US alliances and on his administration’s standing over a few casual tweets he could have disowned. The definitive answer may take a long time to emerge. It might be because Mr Trump is trying to divert attention from the fact that his campaign did actively collude with the Kremlin to influence the US election.

Such a discovery would be bigger than Watergate and could result in his impeachment and removal from office. Equally, it could be because Mr Trump is psychologically unable to admit making an error even to the extent of sacrificing his administration’s credibility. The latter would be trivial by comparison. It is also consistent with what we already know.

After Monday, we also know this: two months after taking office, Mr Trump has implicitly been branded a fantasist by the heads of America’s largest law enforcement agency and its largest intelligence agency. Yet he shows no signs of changing his tactics. It is surely a matter of time before relations between Mr Trump’s White House and the intelligence community pass the point of no return.

COMMENTS by Robert S. Stewart

Ivanka is being groomed to be the first woman President. It’s the next step of the Trump dynasty. She’s being set up to be the fall of Don. She is his exit strategy.Obama’s failure was that he had no back-up strategy, succession or dynasty in place. The only person he could find was his worst previous enemy while vying for the Democratic nomination. Trump is feathering the nest with many family members both inside and outside the White House.  She has every right to stand for president. All she has to do get some sort of legal degree or other qualification showing the ability to add two and two, find a party who will support her, get elected to some state positions, maybe work her way up to running for governor, serve some time to see how the apparatus of government actually works, serve a term or two, and then go through the selection procedure, into the primaries, and off.

If you only knew how much Daddy loves Ivanka, you’d understand that she is the only person who can give him unbriddled criticism if she screws up. Therefore, even more than her husband, she gets unrivalled access to the Oval Office, her own office, staff, and effectively beomes the First Lady. She is a very tough, strong-willed and opinionated lady whom he trained better than himself for the position. She can run a small clothing line, smile into the cameras and take heavy questioning. Much more than her father, she is cool-witted, not hot-tempered.

The Donald will likely tire of the position over the first four years, but will hold onto power for the sole goal of giving her maximum exposure, access to the critical functioning of the White House and Congress, and learn the ropes better than Hillary. Trump is creating ‘the Brand’. He will quickly reach his “sell-by” date given his horrific lack of experience in governance.

Ivanka understands the game. He will hand more and more decision-making over to her as her confidence rises and she exerts her strong will. Then he’ll go back to business with his sons thinking that he is a ‘statesman’ but realise all too late, that he flubbed that course. He might have better attended Trump University. The sad part in all of this is that America continues to flounder, while the rest of Europe continues to search for some glue and energy to hold itself on a course of growth or development. Asia is not holding back and will quickly ecclipse the sloth and era of ‘entertainment’ which we in the Western world have sadly fallen into. Another Age of Mediocrity is upon us.

Her Manhatten apartment is up for sale and she has bought a mansion in Washington DC, more elegant than the White House, and especially private without the peering media. Her children will be schooled at the best places in the Capitol and she will be ready, steady and set to go in 4 or 8 years. This effectively knocks Chelsea out of the play and there are no further Bushes seeking power. Melania minds the home nest in Trump Tower and stays out of the limelight.

Ivanka Trump will be getting an office in the West Wing, security clearance and official communications devices. She will also continue to advise the president and broaden her portfolio as the everyday need arises. Despite this, the Trump team is insisting that she’ll play no official role and have no official title as anti-nepotism laws prevent the hiring of family members as White House employees. That makes it pretty clear what her role is. Every US President in recent times has had an extremely effective muse (as in his wife) sharing the official duties and participating in official decisions. It is a lonely office in which one never knows who one’s friends and confidantes are.

Thus Ivanka will have unparalleled access to Dad during the day and both will be exceptionally careful not to use any devices capable of being overheard in the evening. Hence, her office in the West Wing, essentially a few feet away from the Oval Office by day and a quick limo trip will connect their homes after hours. No Cabinet Minister, Security Adviser, even the Vice President, comes close to that. And given his wife will spend most of her time in New York overseeing The Baron’s education, expect that Ivanka will become effectively No. 2 in stealth command of America and unofficial ‘batter on deck’ in baseball parlance.

What most of the media missed in the recent US Presidential election was the role of women in electing Donald Trump. Ivanka plays a huge role in helping Dad to win. In the second meeting with a Head of State, Ivanka impressed upon Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, the role of the Presidency in insuring increased respect for and promotion of women in the high ranks of both business and governance. Women in the Western world have been shunning the liberal feminist dogma for decades.

Ivanka represents part of the American revolution which supports its European counterpart in promoting women’s roles in society. A British Prime Minister, several other European Presidents may soon be supported by a French woman President while her German counterpart tries to hold on for dear life. On both sides of the political debate, women are increasing their roles in society for the good. Ivanka wil play out her biggest role in life as a candidtae for the future Presidency of the US. For an indepth article on how this is playing out, read the “Foreign Policy” article below.

The Other Women’s Movement


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The Commonwealth bonds will provide trade progress: Britain needs to strike more bilateral deals with its best prospects

Comment by Robert S. Stewart 10 March 2017

Britain should focus on three trade groupings:

1.) North America (Canada and the USA);

2.) Other important members of the Commonwealth (Australia, New Zealand, India); and

3.) The Middle East.

Let the rest continue as before, but emphasis on these blocs gives the UK enough to swallow for decades to come. Owning the important assets of resources in Canada, Australia and servicing the Middle East will bring home the bacon.

Britain needs to negotiate the best deal it can get with the single market, like the Swiss and other non-EU members. UK goods and services compete mainly with this market so I doubt you are going to lose much here.

Your real market is selling goods and services to America, purchasing raw materials from Canada and the óther Commonwealth providers, and then filling their cups with more of your value-added goods and services. Even if you just stick to the English-speaking world you will be better off than competing with the Continent in the same and similar products.

I somewhat disagree with the following article in that I think the Commonwealth is your preferred trading partner. It doesn’t mean going back to the pith helmet days. It means recognizing that +1 billion people from the Commonwealth are ready to step into a middle class lifestyle and are willing to buy it in a language and from a culture they prefer and understand.

Herein lies your greatest strength. You placed a powerful stamp on the world 200 years ago. Now reel in what benefits still exist in bringing the rest of them up to your standards. They have discovered already that neither China nor other trading partners reflect many of their ingrained values taught to them so assiduously by the British. They haven’t forgotten you.

Rather, it was the other way around when the Winds of Change blew in the wrong direction. Part of your political mission would be to help bring greater democracy, transparency and reduce corruption plaging the worst of those places. If you did away with this latter deadly disease, worse than any virus or pandemic disorder, you would reap multiple benefits for centuries to come. This is the greatest underlying roadblock to progress across most of the world. It would assuredly make Britain Great again as the rest of the world careens wildly in the other direction..

Having negotiated dozens of trade agreements with as many countries worldwide, I continue to believe that if the English-speaking world huddles together (which includes unfettered bilateral access to America), bringing the +1 billion population from the Commonwealth and America into the Middle Class will provide a century of positive trade all round.

One first has to deal with corruption and mismanagement in Africa and others at the bottom of the heap, but if that is helped by Britain, Canada and others, you’ll have enough on your platter for a very long time, and you’ll always come out ahead in the rankings of “The World’s Greatest countries”.

Already, Canada and Britain are 2 of the 3 leading countries of the world. Join hands with the Swiss in dealing with the EU, and you’ve nailed the top three countries. Add Australia and then start adding other Commnwealth partners one-by-one. That would be a legacy and future that few could compare or master better than Britain.

The bonds of history, language and political institutions shared by Commonwealth members offer an opportunity for a post-Brexit UK trade policy. However, in the week that trade ministers from the bloc meet in London, Britain should be wary of putting all its eggs in that basket.

The last time the Commonwealth had a common trade policy was before the establishment of the Bretton Woods institutions, especially the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which came into effect in 1948. At Bretton Woods the US set about destroying Britain’s system of “imperial preference”, which GATT successfully unwound. Imperial preferences were structured to benefit the UK at the expense of both its colonies and non-members. The collapse of the system fuelled the era of open multilateral trade.

In the 44 years since the UK joined the EU, the world and indeed the Commonwealth have changed markedly. Finding areas of common interest in free-trade agreements between highly developed large economies such as the UK, Canada and Australia, densely populated big countries such as India, chronic underperforming economies such as South Africa and Pakistan, and micro states in the Pacific, is an almost insuperable challenge.

Many members of the Commonwealth have demonstrated only weak support for multilateral trade liberalisation in the World Trade Organization and even less appetite for higher levels of liberalisation under bilateral and plurilateral FTAs. Indeed, many members are highly protectionist with respect to trade abroad and interventionist in their own domestic economic affairs.

Across the Commonwealth new patterns of economic integration between Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries have been forged in response to market opportunities reflecting comparative advantage or by various networks of FTAs.

These countries have also integrated their trade via regional value chains, notably in Southeast Asia and Africa. Where this has occurred, members of the Commonwealth would be unwilling to disrupt these by discriminating against non-Commonwealth supply-chain partners.

The UK must set its priorities carefully after Brexit. As Liam Fox, international trade secretary, is about to discover, any trade negotiation is hugely resource-intensive. Not only will the UK for the foreseeable future lack the negotiating resources to do more than a few bilateral trade agreements at any one time, many Commonwealth members would be unable to marshal sufficient capacity to participate in a Commonwealth-wide negotiation.

Pursuit of such a deal would be a distraction from achieving agreements with, for starters, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Canada is a prospective partner too, though it is still in the process of digesting its Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the EU.

But the UK also needs to look outside the Commonwealth to big markets such as Japan, South Korea and even China. Each of these has recently negotiated its own bilateral trade agreements with third parties. A more challenging, but potentially richly rewarding, FTA would, of course, be with the US. Britain should not neglect these non-Commonwealth opportunities.

Back to the future with the Commonwealth is definitely not the way forward. The UK should encourage members to commit more fully to multilateral liberalisation in the WTO. A strong WTO is good not only for the world economy, but also for creating favourable conditions that will work to the UK’s advantage.

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The Decline of the West, and How to Stop It

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10th October 2016

For most of the last 70 years, the United States, Canada and much of Europe have constituted a vast zone of peace, prosperity and democracy. The trans-Atlantic community has grown to over 900 million inhabitants of more than 30 countries. It has set an example for regional cooperation in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, and served as a mainstay of the liberal world order.

That achievement is in jeopardy. The bonds within Europe have been fraying for some time, but this year has been the worst yet. Last month, Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Union’s highest official, said that the union faced “an existential crisis.”

Meanwhile, America’s two major parties have soured on trade agreements with Europe and Asia. Donald J. Trump has welcomed Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, derided American allies and hailed an authoritarian leader, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who fears and tries to undermine Western solidarity.

Given these pressures, the year ahead may determine whether the West can overcome its current troubles. A vital lesson of the modern era is that internationalism has stabilized the world, while lapses into bellicose nationalism have wreaked havoc.

The aftermath of World War I was a series of follies and failures: the Carthaginian peace of Versailles, the ineptitude of the League of Nations, the Great Depression and the emergence of totalitarianism. Together, they made a second conflagration all but inevitable.

The victors of World War II determined not to repeat the mistakes of their predecessors. They found in the history of Western civilization the precepts for a community of nations buttressed not only by shared values, interests and institutions, but also by the world’s most powerful military alliance.

They had much to draw on: Pericles’ ideal polity (“not the few but the many govern”), the Hanseatic League (a trade and defense pact in the Middle Ages), the Age of Reason, Adam Smith’s advocacy of open markets and the division of labor to enhance the wealth of nations, and Immanuel Kant’s conviction that “perpetual peace” depended on democratic nations’ conducting vigorous commerce.

The first step toward a united Europe was a common market for coal and steel. France and Germany, enemies in both world wars, became partners in peacetime industry and trade. The architects of the European Project, subscribing to a binding ethos of Atlanticism, were inspired by America’s success in molding the newly independent states from the original 13 colonies into “a more perfect union.” Europe’s progress in that direction would never have been possible without the Marshall Plan, which jump-started the Continent’s postwar economic recovery and ensured 42 years of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as a shield against the Soviet Union.

The collapse of that faltering superpower in 1991 spurred the evolution of the European Economic Community into the European Union. NATO’s decision to accept new members that had been Soviet satellites and republics made it possible for the European Union to do the same.

Throughout, the byword was integration: a steady process of harmonizing the policies of individual nation-states into common European ones, making collaboration easier and interdependence beneficial for all.

In the 1970s, before the term became pejorative, “Eurocrats” in Brussels took pride in being at the vanguard of a worldwide trend for which they popularized a little-used word: globalization. By most accounts, the opening of markets significantly narrowed the inequality between rich and poor regions of the world, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, especially in Asia. The downside of globalization in developed regions, especially in North America and Europe — depressed wages and jobs at risk in industries exposed to foreign competition — seemed manageable as long as the world economy was humming.

Through the 1990s, for the most part, economies continued to grow, median incomes climbed, jobs were plentiful and markets signaled a bright future. In 2007, the Dow Jones industrial average soared to a record high. A year later, the euro reached its maximum value against the dollar. But within a few months, America’s banking and housing sectors had crashed, prompting the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. Close to nine million Americans lost their jobs and a similar number of homeowners were forced into foreclosures, surrenders of their homes or distress sales. The decline in national wealth hit the poor and middle class hardest.

The Great Recession was worse for Europe. Trade with the rest of the world slumped and employment shrank, especially along the Mediterranean rim. The economic crisis exposed and exacerbated structural flaws in the European Union itself. Even in the good times, there had been tensions between debtor and creditor member states. The common currency, the euro, imposed a common monetary policy and a fixed exchange rate, but without fiscal integration among countries. That defect has hobbled Europe’s response to the sovereign debt crises and caused precipitous drops in employment.

The last year has seen one catastrophe after another. A rash of terrorist attacks has heightened security concerns; Britain’s decision to leave the union has raised fears of a contagion of other “exits”; and an influx of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and North Africa has placed burdens on labor markets, stressed social services and inflamed public anxieties.

The election campaign in the United States has revealed a similar malaise. Many Americans, especially in rural and blue-collar areas, are pessimistic about the future and nostalgic for a seemingly better past. As in Europe, there is widespread mistrust of elites and experts, and feverish enthusiasm for anti-establishment populists.

With this backlash comes the threat of protectionism in economics, isolationism in foreign policy, and a resurgent nativism and xenophobia in politics — precisely the toxic mix that the North American and European visionaries of Atlanticism sought to prevent when they laid its foundations.

Fortunately, stewards of that legacy remain in power in most Western capitals. And many citizens of European Union countries, especially the younger generations, tend to identify as Europeans, whatever their nationality. Despite Brexit, this is still true of many Britons.

That still leaves Europe’s elected officials with an onerous task. They must convince majorities of their citizens that 27 member states can better protect them within the European Union than without it.

To do so, the union’s institutions need to streamline decision-making while improving cooperation. In particular, they must prove effective in thwarting terrorists, whether they are infiltrators from the Middle East or homegrown. The attacks perpetrated this year by European citizens underscore the need for a long-term strategy to tackle alienation and radicalization within Europe’s Muslim communities.

That talismanic Euro-word, integration, finds new relevance: Instead of segregating migrants and asylum seekers in enclaves like those in inner-city Brussels or among the banlieues of Paris, several European municipalities are exploring ways to accelerate the process of assimilation by providing low-cost housing, education and job training.

Starting and funding such programs would be challenging under normal circumstances, but the difficulties are especially acute now, when virtually all Western European governments are on the defensive and several face daunting electoral challenges from nationalist opponents in the year ahead.

Mr. Putin has all too successfully stoked the sense of peril and fear of failure in the West. The Kremlin is backing insurgent euroskeptic parties, bullying Russia’s neighbors and trying to undo sanctions imposed after its illegal annexation of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine. Against such subversion, the NATO alliance needs beefing up to help prevent Europe’s political disintegration — and this must be a major priority for any incoming United States administration.

The next president will have domestic challenges as well, given the gridlock between the executive and legislative branches, and an inward turn in the public mood. The current polarizing and dispiriting presidential campaign may also cast a pall over the future.

These handicaps make it even more important for Western governments to address their citizens’ legitimate concerns about the impact of globalization. They must work to cement a new political consensus that will restore public support for free and fair international trade.

Persuading the newly industrialized nations with export-based economies to adopt better labor practices and environmental policies, and to respect human rights, is not enough. There will have to be remedial action at home. Vulnerable workers in developed nations deserve better safety nets, as well as ambitious and effective retraining opportunities in growing sectors of economy.

Citizens’ sense that the system is unfair needs addressing, too. Big business is ripe for reform. Newcomers to the marketplace should have a better chance in markets that are now dominated by mega-monopolies. American-based corporations should not be able to exploit tax rules that allow them to shift profits to the lowest tax jurisdictions.

For globalization to be politically sustainable, it must be more economically equitable. Measures like these would begin to persuade a critical mass of people at global, regional and national levels that they, too, can share in a new wave of prosperity.

Restoring social progress on this scale will succeed only if it has buy-in from all segments of society. But the innovation and direction must come from the top. In enlisting their constituents’ support for a renewed commitment to Atlanticism, this generation of Western leaders faces the greatest and most consequential test in 70 years.

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The Amsterdam City Swim for ALS Victims 2016 – Fund-Raising in the Muddy Amstel River

September 11th, 2016


Amsterdam City Swim raising +$2.2 million to find a cure for ALS

The date sends a chill down global spines. That was the day in 2001 when a group of Saudi and Yemeni young men took the controls of three American commercial airliners filled with innocent passengers and flew two of them into the World Trade Centre in New York City, killing the passengers and thousands of people on the ground in New York and Washington.

I watched the television replays on an overhead television recording by CNN from a dentist’s chair in Switzerland where I was having a tooth crown fitted into my mouth without any anaesthetic. I could feel a lot of pain that day. Having known in advance that something like this had been planned by these terrorists from intelligence gathered on my telephone network in the Balkans War, made me shudder even more.

My company, Franklin Telecom Corporation of Westlake Village California, brought the world’s first VoIP technology into the commercial marketplace by providing the NATO troops with a low-cost, long distance telephone network, allowing the personnel in the armies and air forces of the NATO coalition to communicate with their loved ones back home.

The satellite network we built worldwide used a technology unknown to the rest of the world called “VoIP” or “Voice-Over-the Internet Protocol”. Satellites or Fiber Optic Cable transmitted long distance telephone calls and data over satellites or underground/ underwater cables rather than Scots/Canadian Alexander Graham Bell’s telephonic invention which used old copper wires.

Dutch, Canadian, Irish and a dozen other NATO troops  were testing a system whereby long distance phone calls cost pennies rather than many Euros, dollars or pounds per minute. It was virtually free after the cables and satellites were put up by the US Government.

From the thousands of calls made between these soldiers and their families back home, various intelligence agencies were listening to disturbing calls and hearing other communications between members of a group called El Qaeda and their partners planted around Europe and America, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The calls were carefully monitored and recorded by NATO headquarters in Brussels along with other members states national phone systems and culminated in thousands of pages of transcripts suggesting that a group of fanatics funded by a black sheep Saudi son of a local construction billionaire, Osama bin Laden, was planning to blow up the World Trade Center, the US Congress and the Pentagon.

General Wes Clark, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, a US four-star US Army General, had intercepted thousands of these calls around Europe and presented them to his Commander-in-Chief, US President Bill Clinton. He was thrown out of the Oval Office 13 times. Clinton had Monica Lewinsky on ihs mind (amongst other portions of his anatomy) and considered Clark to be a trouble-maker.

He eventually fired Clark before the end of his job running NATO, where he had successfully prosecuted Clinton’s NATO War against Slobodan Milosevic who had killed millions of ihs own people, Muslims in the former Yugoslav countries.

Clark told me the story in 1999,  two years before the events of September 11, 2001. When the tragedy occured, I got a simple SMS message on my cell phone in Europe:

“You see, I told you so. Wes.”

He ran for President of the USA a few years later, but lost out to the Democratic Party machinery that put other politicians ahead of him.  He had been a four star general, a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and earned a PhD in Physics at Westpoint. He also came from Arkansas (like Clinton), but that accounted for nothing with his President who had a White House  intern grinding his organ music and the US Congress about to impeach him for lying about it.

As I swam along the muddy Amstel River last weekend, my legs started to cramp with the onslaught of what felt like another attack of ALS, not disimilar to one that struck me three years ago, paralyzing me from the waist down. The world was paralyzed from the waist down fifteen years ago on the same day, September 11th. No one listened to General Wes Clark and took advance warning that it would happen, even with ten thousand pages of recorded transcripts outlinging the plot.

No one appears to be focussed on the constant daily explosions rocking the world today that continue to occur as young protestors, terrorists and militants dressed in the Muslim faith pursue their murders against innocent victims around the world. The politicians who are more intent on making their fortunes via the public taxpayers, continue relentlesly pursuing their missions and forgetting that their populations remain unprotected.

The ACS Swim in the Amstel River every year (now five years running) is intended to find a cure for the deadly disease ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). The Swim turned out to be a big party for all 3,000 swimmmers and their fans and friends after the event. I met a dozen ALS victims and asked them what they were doing to cure themselves. They were all waiting for Big Pharma to find a drug solution. I told them all that I had found a natural solution:

  1. In the words of Dr. Stephen Hawking, a very famous Physicist with ALS from Cambridge University who has written extensively on the ‘Origins of the Universe’: “Don’t believe the Doctors”. They tell us there is no known cause of the disease, no cure and we’ll all be dead in a couple of years. He has survived with it for 50 years and still teaches at Cambridge.
  2. Massage your leg muscles (hands or throat – wherever the disease starts) from Day 1 of the start of the condition, even if you can’t feel them. Get extensive physiotherapy to keep your muscles alive even though the Doctors say they are dead.
  3. Learn to walk a different way if you lose touch with your feet. Walk with canes, sticks, swim as often as possible, do anything but keep moving. Try to re-connect your feet with your brain via a different set of nerves. I did. Six months later, I was walking again and I could feel all my muscles below the waist up to my toes.
  4. Have a strong desire to survive, live and find your own cure. My cure won’t work if you have a weak will. If the doctors convince you that you are going to die, then you will.
  5. Keep a strong support group around you: wife, family, friends, children, or fall in love with an old friend or someone new. Hawking lost his wife who ran off with another man, and fell in love with his nurse who kept him alive. His wife eventually came back to him when she saw he wasn’t about to give up and die as the doctors had suggested.
  6. Keep your brain, penis and as much of the rest of your body alive with daily exercise and functional activity.
  7. Never say die. If you believe the doctors, you and your muscles will die in the two years or less that they project for you. They are only interested in finding a purported drug just to keep you alive, but it will probably never cure you. If it cured you, you won’t need to buy any more of their medicine. It’ll keep you on life support and drain your finances, much like HIV/AIDS drugs did (anti-retrovirals) until their cost came down so low that millions could survive on low-cost generic drugs. Now, all 40 million people with HIV/AIDS will live a normal life into their 70’s or 80’s, as long as they might have done so without the disease.

It is suggested that ALS is a motor-neuron disease. But with no proof from any source as to its origins, ohw can anyone find a solution. I refuesed to agree with the medical profession that condemned me to an early death. My 98 year old mother said she didn;t want me to die before her (I was 65 when it struck me) so she said:

“Find a massage therapist. I saved more people as a nurse than all the doctors administering their drugs. They all died”.

I had a 75 year old Swiss milk-maid (my neighbour Ines from Saanen, Switzerland) cut down two sticks from the woods. She pushed me out of bed every morning after I lay there dying for several weeks, thoroughly depressed by what the doctors diagnosed. She said that she had never heard of the disease and refused to believe the quacks. I fell down for the first few days until I gradually built up a 100 metre walk.

Six months later, I fell in love again with a woman I had been in love with 33 years ago. She came to my rescue and tickled my toes back to life again.


A statue in our garden by the famous Dutch sculpture, Pepe Gregoire signifies one cure for this disease. There will be many more discovered by patients, and not Big Pharma. Combining a psychosomatic routine with strong willpower (“never give up”) , with a physiological effort to keep the muscles alive (massage the so-called “dead muscles” you can’t feel – they are not “dead”, just “dormant”), overcame the so-called neurological disorder.

And most importantly: “Believe in your own ability to overcome this disease and find your own cure. Don’t believe the doctors.”

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Britain’s ‘withered’ forces not fit to repel all-out attack

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September 16, 2016 9:58 pm

General Sir Richard Barrons, former head of the country’s Joint Forces Command, expressed extreme concern about Britain’s military capabilities

Britain’s armed forces cannot defend the UK against a serious military attack and have lost much of their ability to fight conventional wars, the recently retired head of the country’s Joint Forces Command has warned.

General Sir Richard Barrons, who stepped down in April as one of the country’s four service chiefs, has said a series of “profoundly difficult” strategic challenges are being sidestepped as Whitehall focuses on “skinning” budgets and delivering costly but increasingly redundant big-ticket military projects.

His 10-page, private memorandum to Michael Fallon, defence minister, is the most forthright criticism of defence policy from the UK’s senior military leadership to have emerged publicly in years. It came just months after the last spending review handed the Ministry of Defence a significant funding boost despite widespread cuts to other departments.

The general’s detailed analysis will raise grave concerns in Nato. Britain has long cast itself as a linchpin of the alliance’s European military power base, but the US has voiced doubts about its diminishing capabilities since the troubled campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Capability that is foundational to all major armed forces has been withered by design,” wrote Sir Richard. The MoD, he says, is working to “preserve the shop window” while critical technical and logistical capabilities have been “iteratively stripped out” behind it.

In the correspondence, a copy of which has been obtained by the Financial Times, Sir Richard states:

● There is no military plan to defend the UK in a conventional conflict. “Counter-terrorism is the limit of up-to-date plans and preparations to secure our airspace, waters and territory . . . There is no top-to-bottom command and control mechanism, preparation or training in place for the UK armed forces [to defend home territory] . . . let alone to do so with Nato.”● A Russian air campaign would quickly overwhelm Britain. “UK air defence now consists of the (working) Type 45 [destroyers], enough ground-based air defence to protect roughly Whitehall only, and RAF fast jets. Neither the UK homeland nor a deployed force — let alone both concurrently — could be protected from a concerted Russian air effort.”

● A Russian air campaign would quickly overwhelm Britain. “UK air defence now consists of the (working) Type 45 [destroyers], enough ground-based air defence to protect roughly Whitehall only, and RAF fast jets. Neither the UK homeland nor a deployed force — let alone both concurrently — could be protected from a concerted Russian air effort.”

● Navy ships and RAF planes are often deployed without adequate munitions or protections because they have grown used to depending on US forces to protect and support them. “Key capabilities such as radars, fire control systems and missile stocks are deficient.”

● The army is not equipped to fight a rival professional land force and is significantly outgunned by Russia. “The current army has grown used to operating from safe bases in the middle of its operating area, against opponents who do not manoeuvre at scale, have no protected mobility, no air defence, no substantial artillery, no electronic warfare capability, nor — especially — an air force or recourse to conventional ballistic or cruise missiles.”

● Small numbers of hugely expensive pieces of military equipment make the UK’s capabilities “extremely fragile”. It is unlikely the UK’s two new aircraft carriers, which cost £2bn each, will ever be sent within 300km of the Chinese coast, for example. “We operate platforms that we cannot afford to use fully, damage or lose — industry would take years to repair or produce more.”

● Manpower across all the forces is dangerously squeezed. “It is not necessary to shoot down all the UK’s Joint Strike Fighters, only to know how to murder in their beds the 40 or so people who can fly them.”

Sir Richard warned that the UK’s entire strategic thinking was underpinned by the assumption it could fight wars on a discretionary basis — a supposition he says has been completely upended by the increase in global instability over the past two years.

“There is a sense that modern conflict is ordained to be only as small and as short term as we want to afford — and that is absurd. The failure to come to terms with this will not matter at all if we are lucky in the way the world happens to turn out, but it could matter a very great deal if even a few of the risks now at large conspire against the UK.”

The Ministry of Defence said: “Our defence review last year put in place a plan for more ships, planes and troops at readiness, alongside greater spending on cyber and special forces. That plan was backed by a rising defence budget. And, crucially, it was backed by all of the service chiefs, who were heavily involved in putting it together.”

Across Nato, Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine has thrown defence planning into flux. While the UK’s armed forces are the best resourced in Europe, they are also among those struggling most to adapt themselves to the rapidly changing European security environment.

“We became used to using the military as a foreign policy tool, but in that lost any real sense of it as an insurance policy,” said a senior Whitehall official. “So far there is a lot of talk about deterrence across Nato but what really matters is whether it is credible, certainly as far as Russia is concerned.”


Shortfall 1: Artillery and tanks

AS-90 moving to it's firing during Exercise Steel Sabre. Exercise Steel Sabre: The aim of this huge Royal Artillery live firing exercise was to bring all the components of an effective Artillery group together to train in its core business: delivering firepower on the battlefield. This included soldiers from different nations and from the Regular and Reserve parts of the British Army employing artillery guns, rockets, mortars, radars and unmanned aerial vehicles on the Otterburn Ranges.

An AS-90 artillery piece during the training exercise Steel Sabre

Britain has cut back its armoured warfare capabilities significantly over the years. A Russian brigade contains two or three artillery battalions. A British brigade contains just one. The focus on fast, lighter vehicles also makes the UK vulnerable


For the past decade, Britain’s military posture has been conditioned by the Afghan and Iraqi deployments as well as by the reality of a dramatically shrinking budget. The most recent Strategic Defence and Security Review — which coincided with a generous spending commitment from the government and a wide-ranging review of defence priorities — has gone some way to addressing the challenges. But experts say it has not gone far enough.

“There is a capability gap across the services,” said Ben Barry, senior fellow for land warfare at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, adding that he strongly agreed with Sir Richard’s assessment. “With regard to Russia, the SDSR is schizophrenic. There is lots of language about being shoulder to shoulder with Nato allies, the value of deterrence and increased expenditure, but the threat analysis in it specifically rules out a direct threat to the UK — and I think that is wrong. It is not clear at all that the UK’s conventional capability is being rebuilt nearly enough.”

The British army, Mr Barry continued, had not practised armoured warfare properly since 2003. It was outgunned in comparison to Russia’s forces, in some areas significantly so. Each Russian brigade had either two or three artillery battalions within it, he noted; the UK’s had one.


Shortfall 2: Manpower

Personnel from Mercer's Troop, G Battery, 7 Parachute Regiment and the Royal Horse Artillery on Exercise Steel Sabre. Exercise Steel Sabre: The aim of this huge Royal Artillery live firing exercise was to bring all the components of an effective Artillery group together to train in its core business: delivering firepower on the battlefield. This included soldiers from different nations and from the Regular and Reserve parts of the British Army employing artillery guns, rockets, mortars, radars and unmanned aerial vehicles on the Otterburn Ranges.©MoD

Soldiers on patrol during Exercise Steel Sabre, designed to test artillery groups

All four services have seen dramatic reductions in manpower. This has curbed deployability and flexibility. But more critically, there are severe shortages of manpower in critical jobs, such as naval engineering, intelligence and medicine.


While Britain is committed to a comprehensive upgrade of its Warrior tanks, that programme has a low priority within the existing defence equipment plan. By comparison, Russia’s new Armata tanks outgun anything the UK or Nato can field, and have an active protection system that will reduce the effect of British anti-tank weapons by between 50 per cent and 90 per cent.

The other services are even more pressured.

“[In the air], the forces are being pushed in a way they have not been since the end of the cold war,” noted Justin Bronk, research fellow and combat air power specialist at the Royal United Services Institute. While the F35 Joint Strike Fighter, due to come into service soon for the RAF, was an exceptionally capable weapon, Mr Bronk said, the numbers purchased — at least initially — would limit its utility sharply because of pressures such as training, servicing and maintenance.


Shortfall 3: F35 fighters

Pictured is the first of the UK’s F-35B Lightning II jets to be flown to the UK. Accompanied by two United States Marine Corps F-35B aircraft from their training base at Beaufort, South Carolina. The F-35B Lightning II will place the UK at the forefront of fighter technology, giving the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy a true multi-role all weather, day and night capability, able to operate from well-established land bases, deployed locations or the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be known in UK service as the Lightning II. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor but the UK is the only Level 1 partner with the US. A number of British companies, including BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce will have significant industrial work-share in construction and development of the aircraft. The Lightning II will provide UK Defence with a 5th Generation (low observable, supersonic, enhanced data fusion), multi-role, all weather, day and night aircraft that will have the ability to operate from land bases as well as the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, the first of which is due to accept Lightning II onto her deck in 2018. This basing flexibility will give UK Defence a truly joint expeditionary Combat Air capability well into the 2030’s. The RAF is the lead service for the operation of Lightning II and, like the Harrier before, the Joint Lightning II Force will be manned by both RAF and RN personnel.©MoD

An F-35B Lightning II jet being flown to the UK

Britain’s new generation of fast jets are the most expensive — and capable — combat aircraft ever built for the UK. But with just 48 of them, the UK will only be able to operate six at a time and payloads are limited


The UK has committed to buying 48 of the jets, which will be able to launch from the Navy’s two aircraft carriers. “That essentially means that on a long-term sustainable basis you might be able to deploy six of them,” says Mr Bronk. “At a high tempo for a short duration, you might be able to deploy 12.”

The UK’s aerial surveillance assets are the most stretched, however. On any given day, just one or two of the British six-plane AWACS fleet can be used to provide long-range radar and command functions for British forces. The aircraft were so old that their capabilities were “substantially” below their French and US equivalents, said Mr Bronk. “That is certainly not going to give you a 24-hour presence . . . let alone the ability to field more than one at a time in two or more different theatres.”


Shortfall 4: Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance

A British military AWACS surveillance aircraft lands in at the Akrotiri British RAF airbase near Limassol on March 20, 2011. Britain bombarded Libya with missiles from air and sea as multinational forces launched military action, with Prime Minister David Cameron urging an end to Moamer Kadhafi's "appalling brutality". AFP PHOTO/ANDREAS LAZAROU (Photo credit should read ANDREAS LAZAROU/AFP/Getty Images)©AFP

A British military AWACS surveillance aircraft landing at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus

The UK’s fleet of 6 AWACS planes, which provide long-range radar coverage and act as command hubs for deployed forces, are very out of date. Only one or two can operate at any one time. The UK cannot even sustain 24-hour coverage over a theatre of operation with them.


The Royal Navy’s spate of new investments — from the Type 45 destroyers to the Queen Elizabeth carriers and the forthcoming Type-26 frigates — also belies significant operational constraints.

“The major capability gap that the Royal Navy faces is one of numbers,” said Lee Willett, editor of IHS Janes Navy International. “It is the simple need to have enough ships in all the places that the government requires them to be.”

While new high-tech ships would deliver a “major capability uplift in the short to medium term”, said Mr Willett, there may not be enough of them to combat or deter adversaries.


Shortfall 5: Type 45 destroyers

Pictured is Type 45 Destroyer HMS Diamond being loaded with Sea Viper missiles at HMNB Portsmouth. Staff from Defence Munitions Gosport which is part of Defence Equipment and Support are key to the successful loading of ammunition onto all Royal Navy vessels. They operate the cranes and supervise ships staff as well as providing manpower to load the missiles from ammunition barges to the jetty and then onto the receiving ships. Sea Viper is capable of defending the Type 45 and ships in its company against multiple attacks from the most sophisticated enemy aircraft or missiles approaching from any direction and at supersonic speeds. It can even engage more than ten targets simultaneously - a huge leap in capability for the Royal Navy.

HMS Diamond, a Type 45 destroyer. The UK’s six-strong fleet cost £6bn but cannot operate in continuously warm waters

With only six Type 45 destroyers the Royal Navy will struggle to protect UK waters and its carrier fleet. Each carrier needs at least two destroyers to protect it. The ships have also been bedevilled by technical glitches.


The six Type 45s, for example, must between them cope with aiding the defence of UK airspace and territorial waters, routine deployments to help allies such as escorting US carriers through the Gulf, escort of the UK’s own new carriers, low-tempo operations such as countering piracy, as well as potential high-tempo operations such as combat operations. The ships are already bedevilled by technical glitches that have curbed operations.

Other, less prominent elements of the navy have continued to suffer. Amphibious assault forces, for example, are being cut back. The number of Bay-class logistics ships has fallen from four to three, and there are no costed plans to replace the amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean.


Shortfall 6: Aircraft carriers

The aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth under construction at Rosyth Dockyard, Scotland with HMS Prince of Wales in the background. The Queen Elizabeth Class will be utilised by all three sectors of the UK Armed Forces and will provide eight acres of sovereign territory which can be deployed around the world. Both ships will be versatile enough to be used for operations ranging from supporting war efforts to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.©MoD

The aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth under construction in Rosyth, Scotland

At £2bn each, the two carriers are the most expensive military platforms the UK fields. But there will not be enough F35 jets to fully kit them out for years. The big ships are also vulnerable to a host of emerging military technologies: China’s new hypersonic missiles could easily sink them.


According to Sir Richard, the challenge is not merely one of resources or money. More fundamentally, he wrote, the issue is one of strategic oversight and planning.

In the MoD and the security organs of Whitehall, he said, there was now “almost no capacity left to think and plan strategically or generate resources for the unforeseen . . . our own bureaucracy struggles to get its head above managing details and events”.

Comment by Robert S. Stewart CEO of AIC Inc., Interop A.G.

This article should have been titled: “The Boys with Noise have run out of Toys”. The military only protects the politicians, entrepreneurs, bureaucrats and monarchy of any country. Look at those protecting Washington, Moscow, Kigali, Bogota or Beijing. No one in those places considers protecting anyone other than themselves in power.

Modern central governments certainly aren’t protecting borders, looking after the hinterland or security for their populations. The 19th Century map of the world has also disappeared. Border guards now look for bribes to stay alive, not check passports if terrorists or refugees are crossing.

The Third World has already moved into your living rooms and next door. Check out the demographics of London, New York, Vancouver and 100 of the world’s largest urban centres.

Most land outside of capital cities, major financial and consumer centres, remote industrial operations, commercial forestry or farmland is empty wasteland. Take a look at Northern Canada, Mid-Western USA, Arctic Russia, the wastelands of China and Mongolia, the Sahara and Central Africa, and along the Andes Mountain chain. 90% of the world remains unpopulated.

Check out the oceans and ask “Whose sovereignty is it?” In reality, there is no “Law of the Sea”, sea-bed or otherwise. It is no-man’s-land. An atoll or an island dotted with sheep does not create a triangulated zone of ownership or responsibility.

While the present world is ruled by semi-alcoholic narcissists who couldn’t tell you how to build a corner grocery store, let alone run a modern mining or petroleum complex, automobile factory, nuclear power station, army or football team, their knowledge of the basic global economy runs out at the end of their paychecks, pensions, perks and palaver.

Former Generals who were once tank commanders turn into MD’s of Canine Societies, braying to the ladies in floppy hats parading around Olympia at Crufts. All that retired Chiefs of British Staff have left to do is notify the public that the former Empire is long over, exhausted and now part of the US NATO command. It is no more than a junior understudy that harbours a few weapons in their global arsenal that defends the capital with their upper-middle classes in case there is anything left to defend.

Inside the Washinton beltway and at various command headquarters in Virginia and around the world, the view is that Britain might come in handy to launch a surprise attack on a foe (as in another D-Day, Libyan attack or bomb the Dickins out of the former Yugoslavia) rather than worry too much about other parts of the depleted Empire where no natural resources continue to exist.

All the good Scots, Irish and Welsh already live in America and have their hands on the real weapons. The rest maintain Dad’s Army with a little theatrical skill in making movies about the good old days.

Whither Britain?

Posted in Op-Ed's in Major Publications | Comments Off on Britain’s ‘withered’ forces not fit to repel all-out attack

Master Plan for the Negotiation of all Outstanding Treaty and Land Claims between the First Nations of British Columbia, the British Columbia Provincial Government, the Federal Government of Canada and all Investor and Stakeholder Interests


By Robert S. Stewart
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
And Koloniepad 5, AH1251 Laren, Noord Holland, Netherlands
Quai Jean-Charles Rey 42, Monte Carlo, 9800 Monaco
April-December 2016


1.) Introduction: Executive Summary

2.) Background on the First Nations in British Columbia

3.) Status of First Nations Treaties and Land Claims in British Columbia

4.) List of First Nations governments in British Columbia

5.) Clarity and Confusion? The New Jurisprudence of Aboriginal Title by Tom Flanagan, The Fraser Institute, 2015

6.) Economic Development in Jeopardy? Implications of the Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto Decision by Ravina Bains, Fraser Institute, Toronto, 2015.

7.) Opportunities for First Nations Prosperity through Oil and Gas Development by Ravina Bains, Project Director, Kenneth P. Green, Centre for Natural Resource Studies

8.) Conclusions.

9.) Recommendations for resolution of all outstanding Land Clams and Treaties.

10.) Blueprint for Negotiations.

11.) Timeline

12.) Agenda

13.) Participants

14.) Biography: Robert S. Stewart

15.) References

16.) Press, newspaper and television articles, Op-editorial pieces and stories in the media.

17.) Letter from RS Stewart to the Government of British Columbia, 16th April, 2016

1.) Introduction: Executive Summary

“First Nations”, are “aboriginal” peoples who were also once known as “Indians” by those explorers who associated them with people from India. They emigrated overland and by sea from Asia (China and India) thousands of years ago and originally from Africa three million years ago. They were the first humans to occupy a region called British Columbia (known as “BC”), a Province of the country of Canada founded in 1867.

The First Nations are the various Aboriginal Canadians who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. Within Canada, “First Nations” (most often used in the plural) has come into general use—replacing the deprecated term “Indians”—for the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

A more recent trend is for members of various nations to refer to themselves by their tribal or national identity only, e.g., “I’m Haida,” or “We’re Kwantlens,” in recognition of the distinctiveness of First Nations ethnicities. Canadian indigenous peoples have cultures spanning tens of thousands of years. Some of their oral traditions accurately describe historical events, such as the Cascadia Earthquake of 1700 and the 18th century Tseax Cone eruption.

Written records began with the arrival of European explorers and colonists during the Age of Discovery, beginning in the late 15th century. European accounts by trappers, traders, explorers, and missionaries give important evidence of early contact culture. In addition, archeological and anthropological research, as well as linguistics, have helped scholars piece together understanding of ancient cultures and historic peoples.
Although not without conflict or slavery, Euro-Canadians’ early interactions with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations were less combative compared to the often violent battles between colonists and native peoples in the United States. Combined with later economic development, this relatively non-combative history has allowed First Nations peoples to have an influence on the national culture, while preserving their own identities.

They were the original inhabitants of the land and have a history of at least 10,000 years in the area. It was only explored and discovered by Europeans thousands of years later in the 1700’s. First Nations people have a completely different attachment to their land, not by legal titles afforded by nation states and governments, but by a sacred unwritten trust, history and relationship with the land.

It is based on a respect for and appreciation of the natural landscape including all plants and animals, fish and fowl, and all that share the landscape, both humans and non-humans who live on it. They did not have nation states, countries, governments, laws, treaties, land titles, or Western legal interpretations of their lives based on European traditions or history.

Today there are few legal agreements, written land claims or treaties between the original Aboriginal First Nations people, and Non-First Nations Europeans who later discovered the same land. They later occupied it, and settled it as new owners who permanently stayed without much regard for the original settlers, owners and occupiers of the land.

This lamentable cultural, legal and political disconnect between all these First Nations people and the Non-First Nations peoples who have lived in the Province of British Columbia, also country of Canada along with other nationalities making up the present population of the country, have led to bitter disputes over the ultimate title ownership, occupation, stewardship, management, control and responsibility for overseeing the inherent present day or past value of the land for any socio-economic, industrial, agricultural and political use by anyone.

In effect, the First Nations owned and occupied the land for tens of thousands of years while the European and pother settlers emigrated much later, invaded and occupied their land, and didn’t pay for it or recognize the previous a priori titles of ownership. That is because they weren’t written down using European or Canadian laws. Aboriginal laws are not written down. Now they are about to be. This clarification is 150 years overdue and needs to be rectified immediately. That is the goal of this project.

The principal question of Aboriginal Legal Title in their eyes and the interpretation of the Governments of British Columbia and Canada, have led to many conflicts over Land Claims which have been long ignored since white settlers occupied their land without compensation, recognition or just compensation for the land. It has become a legal and political question of frequent debate as a result of recent court actions in BC and Canada.

Notably, the Tsilhqot’in Nation has established Aboriginal title to a portion of their territory, as a result of the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision (Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia).

The Province of British Columbia evolved from British possessions that were first discovered by explorers James Cook and George Vancouver in the 1700’s, but only led to permanent migration and settlement in the early 1800’s.

The initial establishment of the country of Canada came after hundreds of years of exploration, discovery, and inhabitation in Eastern Canada starting in the 1500’s and was incorporated as Canada in 1867 by an Act of the British Parliament. The Province of British Columbia was incorporated into Canada in 1870.

The aboriginal First Nations were left out of the proceedings, except that promises were made and never fulfilled regarding their title claims to the land. This was an important failure of successive governments of both Canada and British Columbia for 150 years.

Other provinces and the Federal Government settled many claims by other First Nations tribes and regions across Canada. But British Columbia has still not addressed over 90% of these claims in their province. That is about to end.
Captain James Cook, FRS RN (born 7 November 1721 – died 14 February 1779) was a Scottish explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the Western coastline of Canada.

Cook joined the British merchant navy as a teenager and joined the Royal Navy in 1755. He saw action in the Seven Years’ War, and subsequently surveyed and mapped much of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River during the siege of Quebec.
He led the first British overseas exploration of the Pacific Ocean as commander of HM Bark Endeavour for the first of three Pacific voyages. On his second voyage (1772–1775) he searched for Terra Australis. Cook’s third voyage (1776–1778), aboard Resolution’s sister ship, Discovery, he sailed along and landed on the Coast of what is now British Columbia,

In three voyages Cook sailed thousands of miles across largely uncharted areas of the globe. He mapped lands from New Zealand to Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean in greater detail and on a scale not previously achieved. As he progressed on his voyages of discovery he surveyed and named features, and recorded islands and coastlines on European maps for the first time. He displayed a combination of seamanship, superior surveying and cartographic skills, physical courage and an ability to lead men in adverse conditions.

Part of his discovery was that people had lived in the region of British Columbia for thousands of years before the arrival of European explorers and settlers.

The routes of Captain James Cook’s voyages. The first voyage is shown in red, second voyage in green, and third voyage in blue. The third voyage shows he was the first European to visit the Pacific Coast of what is now British Columbia.

Captain George Vancouver (born 22 June 1757 – died 10 May 1798) was an English officer of the Royal Navy, best known for his 1791–95 expedition, which explored and charted North America’s northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of contemporary Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.

In Canada, Vancouver Island and the city Vancouver are named after him, as are Vancouver, Washington in the United States, and Mount Vancouver on the Yukon/Alaska border. In 1771, at the age of 13, George Vancouver entered the Royal Navy as a “young gentleman”, a future candidate for midshipman.

He was selected to serve as a midshipman aboard HMS Resolution, on James Cook’s second voyage (1772–1775) searching for Terra Australis. He also accompanied Cook’s third voyage (1776–1778), this time aboard Resolution’s sister ship, Discovery, and was present during the first European sighting and exploration of the Hawaiian Islands.[3] Upon his return to Britain in 1779, Vancouver was commissioned as a lieutenant and posted aboard the sloop Martin surveying coastlines.

In the late 1780s the Spanish empire commissioned an expedition to the Pacific Northwest. However, the 1789 Nootka Crisis intervened. Spain and Britain came close to war over ownership of the Nootka Sound on contemporary Vancouver Island, and of greater importance, the right to colonize and settle the Pacific Northwest coast.
Henry Roberts and Vancouver joined Britain’s more warlike vessels. Vancouver went with Joseph Whidbey to HMS Courageux. When the first Nootka Convention ended the crisis in 1790, Vancouver was given command of Discovery to take possession of Nootka Sound and to survey the coasts.

Vancouver discovered most of what is now called British Columbia and for whom the main city or Vancouver is now named. The capital is Victoria, named after the Queen of Great Britain and Canada at the time of it joining the Canadian Confederation (1870).

The Aboriginal Indian Tribes (now referred to as “First Nations”) migrated to the area in British Columbia from Asia over 1 million years ago. Some came directly from Japan and other Islands by sea in ships, and others migrated over the Bering Straits from Russia, China, Mongolia and beyond. Originally, they all came from Africa 2-3 million years ago. In short, they beat the White European immigrants to discover the continent at least one million years before any white man.

The white European explorers first met the settled First Nations tribes in BC in the early 1800’s. There are now approximately 119 different tribes, languages, and religions living in BC alone, with thousands more different and distinct tribes/cultures scattered across the rest of North America. In BC they approximate 100,000 people while in Canada over 1 million are included as First Nations and Inuit (Eskimos).

These people were offered Land and Treaties in return for giving up sovereignty of the rest of the country to the invading Spanish, French and English explorers and settlers. While these promises of lands were made, the rest of Canada settled treaties and land claims while in BC, not one was signed. This left the population devastated, without legal ownership of their land in a country ruled by laws.

They remain today the poorest of the poor, having lost or had their languages overruled, forgotten an decimated by the invading European cultures who imposed their rules and laws on the people, taking away all their land and building farms., cities and rural industries over the landscape. The Indians were marginalized and moved to reservations were their lifestyles and cultures were decimated and lost. Today they are the poorest of the poor without much identity left.

It is time to reverse this phase of their sad history, restore their land claims and duly observe and respect their titles over agreed land in British Columbia.

1.) Executive Summary
Collectively, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples constitute aboriginal peoples in Canada, Indigenous peoples of the Americas or first peoples. “First Nations”‘ came into common usage in the 1980s to replace the term “Indian band”. Elder Sol Sanderson says that he coined the term in the early 1980s. Others state that the term came into common usage in the 1970s to avoid using the word “Indian,” which some Canadians considered offensive.

Apparently, no legal definition of the term exists. Some aboriginal peoples in Canada have also adopted the term “First Nation” to replace the word “band” in the name of their community. A band is a legally recognized “body of Indians for whose collective use and benefit lands have been set apart or money is held by the Canadian Crown, or declared to be a band for the purposes of the Indian Act.”

While the word “Indian” is still a legal term, its use is erratic and in decline in Canada. Some First Nations people consider the term offensive, while others prefer it to “aboriginal person/persons/people,” even though the term is a misnomer given to indigenous peoples of North America by European explorers who erroneously thought they had landed on the Indian subcontinent.

The use of the term “Native Americans”, which the United States government and others have adopted, is not common in Canada. It refers more specifically to the aboriginal peoples residing within the boundaries of the United States. The parallel term “Native Canadian” is not commonly used, but “Natives”‘ and autochthones (of Greek roots auto and chthon meaning land) are.

Under the Royal Proclamation of 1763, also known as the “Indian Magna Carta”, the Crown referred to indigenous peoples in British territory as tribes or nations. The term “First Nations” is capitalized, unlike alternative terms. Bands and nations may have slightly different meanings.


First Nations peoples had settled and established trade routes across what is now Canada by 1,000 BC to 500 BC. Communities developed, each with its own culture, customs, and character. In the northwest were the Athapaskan speaking peoples, Slavey, Tli Cho, Tutchone speaking peoples and Tlingit. Along the Pacific coast were the Haida, Salish, Kwakiutl, Nuu-chah-nulth, Nisga’a and Gitxsan. In the plains were the Blackfoot, Kainai, Sarcee and Northern Peigan. In the northern woodlands were the Cree and Chipewyan. Around the Great Lakes were the Anishinaabe, Algonquin, Iroquois and Wyandot. Along the Atlantic coast were the Beothuk, Maliseet, Innu, Abenaki and Mi’kmaq / Micmac.

The Blackfoot Confederacies reside in the Great Plains of Montana and Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. The name ‘Blackfoot’ came from the colour of the peoples’ leather footwear, known as moccasins. They had dyed or painted the bottoms of their moccasins black, but one story claimed that the Blackfoot Confederacies walked through the ashes of prairie fires, which in turn coloured the bottoms of their moccasins black. They had not originally come from the Great Plains of the Midwest North America, but rather from the upper Northeastern area. The Blackfoot started as Woodland Nations but as they made their way over to the Plains, they adapted to new ways of life and became accustomed to the land. They learned the new lands that they travelled to very well and established themselves as Plains Indians in the late 18th century, earning themselves the name “The Lords of the Plains.”

Squamish woman: The Squamish history is a series of past events, both passed on through oral tradition and recent history, of the Squamish indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Prior to colonization, they recorded their history through oral tradition as a way to transmit stories, law, and knowledge across generations. The writing system established in the 1970s used the Latin alphabet as a base. It was a respectable responsibility of knowledgeable elders to pass historical knowledge to the next generation. People lived and prospered for thousands of years until the Great Flood.

In another story, after the Flood, they would repopulate from the villages of Schenks and Chekwelp, located at Gibsons. When the water lines receded, the first Squamish came to be. The first man, named Tseḵánchten, built his longhouse in the village, and later on another man named Xelálten, appeared on his longhouse roof and sent by the Creator, or in the Squamish language keke7nex siyam. He called this man his brother. It was from these two men that the population began to rise and the Squamish spread back through their territory.

A traditional Iroquois longhouse: The Iroquois influence extended from northern New York into what are now southern Ontario and the Montreal, Quebec. The Iroquois Confederacy was, from oral tradition, formed circa 1142. Adept at the Three Sisters (maize/beans/squash), the Iroquois spread at the expense of the Algonquians until they too adopted agricultural practises enabling larger populations to be sustained.
The Assiniboine were close allies and trading partners of the Cree, engaging in wars against the Gros Ventres alongside them, and later fighting the Blackfeet. A Plains people, they went no further north than the North Saskatchewan River and purchased a great deal of European trade goods through Cree middlemen from the Hudson’s Bay Company. The life style of this group was semi-nomadic, and they would follow the herds of bison during the warmer months. They traded with European traders, and worked with the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes, and that factor is attached to their life style.

In the earliest oral history, the Algonquins were from the Atlantic coast. Together with other Anicinàpek, they arrived at the “First Stopping Place” near Montreal. While the other Anicinàpe peoples continued their journey up the St. Lawrence River, the Algonquins settled along the Kitcisìpi (Ottawa River), an important highway for commerce, cultural exchange, and transportation from time immemorial.
A distinct Algonquin identity, though, was not realized until after the dividing of the Anicinàpek at the “Third Stopping Place”, estimated at about 2,000 years ago near present-day Detroit.

Details of Ojibwe Wigwam at Grand Portage by Eastman Johnson: According to their tradition, and from recordings in wiigwaasabak (birch bark scrolls), Ojibwe came from the eastern areas of North America, or Turtle Island, and from along the east coast.

They traded widely across the continent for thousands of years and knew of the canoe routes west and a land route to the west coast. According to the oral history, seven great miigis (radiant/iridescent) beings appeared to the peoples in the Waabanakiing to teach the peoples of the mide way of life.

One of the seven great miigis beings was too spiritually powerful and killed the peoples in the Waabanakiing when the people were in its presence. The six great miigis beings remained to teach while the one returned into the ocean. The six great miigis beings then established doodem (clans) for the peoples in the east. Of these doodem, the five original Anishinaabe doodem were the Wawaazisii (Bullhead), Baswenaazhi (Echo-maker, i.e., Crane), Aan’aawenh (Pintail Duck), Nooke (Tender, i.e., Bear) and Moozoonsii (Little Moose), then these six miigis beings returned into the ocean as well. If the seventh miigis being stayed, it would have established the Thunderbird doodem.

Chief Anotklosh of the Taku Tribe: The Nuu-chah-nulth are one of the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The term ‘Nuu-chah-nulth’ is used to describe fifteen separate but related First Nations, such as the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, Ehattesaht First Nation and Hesquiaht First Nation whose traditional home is in the Pacific Northwest on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

In pre-contact and early post-contact times, the number of nations was much greater, but smallpox and other consequences of contact resulted in the disappearance of groups, and the absorption of others into neighbouring groups. The Nuu-chah-nulth are relations of the Kwakwaka’wakw, the Haisla, and the Ditidaht. The Nuu-chah-nulth language is part of the Wakashan language group.

A 1999 discovery of the body of Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi has provided archaeologists with significant information on indigenous tribal life prior to extensive European contact. Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi (meaning Long Ago Person Found in Southern Tutchone), or Canadian Ice Man, is a naturally mummified body found in Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park in British Columbia, by a group of hunters.

Radiocarbon dating of artifacts found with the body placed the age of the find between 1450 AD and 1700 AD. Genetic testing has shown he was a member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations. Local clans are considering a memorial potlatch to honour Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi.

European contact

Linguistic areas of North American Indigenous peoples at the time of European contact: Aboriginal people in Canada interacted with Europeans as far back as 1000 AD,[8]:Part 1 but prolonged contact came only after Europeans established permanent settlements in the 17th and 18th centuries. European written accounts noted friendliness on the part of the First Nations, who profited in trade with Europeans. Such trade strengthened the more organized political entities such as the Iroquois Confederation.

The Aboriginal population is estimated to have been between 200,000 and two million in the late 15th century. Repeated outbreaks of European infectious diseases such as influenza, measles and smallpox (to which they had no natural immunity), combined with other effects of European contact, resulted in a forty to eighty percent aboriginal population decrease post-contact.

For example, during the late 1630s, smallpox killed over half of the Huron, who controlled most of the early fur trade in what became Canada. Reduced to fewer than 10,000 people, the Huron were attacked by the Iroquois, their traditional enemies.
There are reports of contact made before Christopher Columbus between the first peoples and those from other continents. Even in Columbus’ time there was much speculation that other Europeans had made the trip in ancient or contemporary times; Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés records accounts of these in his General y natural historia de las Indias of 1526, which includes biographical information on Columbus.

Aboriginal first contact period is not well defined. The earliest accounts of contact occurred in the late 10th century, between the Beothuk and Norseman. According to the Sagas of Icelanders, the first European to see what is now Canada was Bjarni Herjólfsson, who was blown off course en route from Iceland to Greenland in the summer of 985 or 986 CE.

The first settler of what is now Canada relied on First Nations, for resources and trade to sustain a living. First written accounts of interaction is predominantly Old world bias. Although not without conflict, European/Canadian early interactions with First Nations and Inuit populations were relatively peaceful, compared to the experience of native peoples in the United States.

National Aboriginal Day recognizes the cultures and contributions of Aboriginal peoples of Canada. There are currently over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands encompassing 1,172,790 people spread across Canada with distinctive Aboriginal cultures, languages, art, and music (2006).

16th–18th centuries: European colonization of the Americas

The Portuguese Crown claimed it had territorial rights in the area visited by Cabot. In 1493 Pope Alexander VI – assuming international jurisdiction – had divided lands discovered in America between Spain and Portugal. The next year, in the Treaty of Tordesillas, these two kingdoms decided to draw the dividing line running north–south, 370 leagues (from 1,500 to 2,200 km (930 to 1,370 mi) approximately depending on the league used) west of the Cape Verde Islands. Land to the west would be Spanish, to the east Portuguese.

Given the uncertain geography of the day, this seemed to give the “new founde isle” to Portugal. On the 1502 Cantino map, Newfoundland appears on the Portuguese side of the line (as does Brazil). An expedition captured about 60 Aboriginal people as slaves who were said to “resemble gypsies in colour, features, stature and aspect; are clothed in the skins of various animals …They are very shy and gentle, but well formed in arms and legs and shoulders beyond description ….”

Some captives, sent by Gaspar Corte-Real, reached Portugal. The others drowned, with Gaspar, on the return voyage. Gaspar’s brother, Miguel Corte-Real, went to look for him in 1502, but also failed to return. Scholars believe that Miguel Corte-Real carved inscriptions on the controversial Dighton Rock.

Non-Native American nations’ claims over North America, 1750–2008: In 1604 King Henry IV of France granted Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons a fur-trade monopoly.
Dugua led his first colonization expedition to an island located near to the mouth of the St. Croix River. Samuel de Champlain, his geographer, promptly carried out a major exploration of the northeastern coastline of what is now the United States.

Under Samuel de Champlain, the Saint Croix settlement moved to Port Royal (today’s Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia), a new site across the Bay of Fundy, on the shore of the Annapolis Basin, an inlet in western Nova Scotia. Acadia became France’s most successful colony to that time.

The cancellation of Dugua’s fur monopoly in 1607 ended the Port Royal settlement. Champlain persuaded First Nations to allow him to settle along the St. Lawrence, where in 1608 he would found France’s first permanent colony in Canada at Quebec City.

The colony of Acadia grew slowly, reaching a population of about 5,000 by 1713. New France had cod-fishery coastal communities, and farm economies supported communities along the St. Lawrence River. French voyageurs travelled deep into the hinterlands (of what is today Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba, as well as what is now the American Midwest and the Mississippi Valley), trading with First Nations as they went – guns, gunpowder, cloth, knives, and kettles for beaver furs.

The fur trade kept the interest in France’s overseas colonies alive, yet only encouraged a small colonial population, as minimal labour was required. The trade also discouraged the development of agriculture, the surest foundation of a colony in the New World.

The Métis
The Métis (from French métis – “mixed”) are descendants of unions between Cree, Ojibway, Algonquin, Saulteaux, Menominee, Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and other First Nations in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and Europeans, mainly French. According to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Métis were historically the children of French fur traders and Nehiyaw women or, from unions of English or Scottish traders and Northern Dene women (Anglo-Métis).

The Métis spoke or still speak either Métis French or a mixed language called Michif. Michif, Mechif or Métchif is a phonetic spelling of the Métis pronunciation of Métif, a variant of Métis. The Métis as of 2013 predominantly speak English, with French a strong second language, as well as numerous Aboriginal tongues.

Métis French is best preserved in Canada, Michif in the United States, notably in the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation of North Dakota, where Michif is the official language of the Métis that reside on this Chippewa reservation. The encouragement and use of Métis French and Michif is growing due to outreach within the provincial Métis councils after at least a generation of steep decline. Canada’s Indian and Northern Affairs define Métis to be those persons of mixed First Nation and European ancestry.

Colonial wars: French/Indian Wars, Father Rale’s War and Father Le Loutre’s War
Conference between the French and First Nations leaders by Émile Louis Vernier: Allied with the French, the first nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy of Acadia fought six colonial wars against the British and their native allies (See the French and Indian Wars, Father Rale’s War and Father Le Loutre’s War). In the second war, Queen Anne’s War, the British conquered Acadia (1710).

The sixth and final colonial war between the nations of France and Great Britain (1754-1763), resulted in the British conquest of Canada. In this final war, the Franco-Indian alliance brought together American and Canadian First Nations and the French, centred on the Great Lakes and the Illinois Country.

The alliance involved French settlers on the one side, and on the other side were the Abenaki, Odawa, Menominee, Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Mississaugas, Illiniwek, Huron-Petun, Potawatomi etc. It allowed the French and the Indians to form a haven in the middle-Ohio valley before the open conflict between the European powers erupted.

Slavery in Canada

First Nations routinely captured slaves from neighbouring tribes. Sources report that the conditions under which First Nations slaves lived could be brutal, with the Makah tribe practicing death by starvation as punishment and Pacific coast tribes routinely performing ritualized killings of slaves as part of social ceremonies into the mid-1800s.

Slave-owning tribes of the fishing societies, such as the Yurok and Haida lived along the coast from what is now Alaska to California. Fierce warrior indigenous slave-traders of the Pacific Northwest Coast raided as far south as California. Slavery was hereditary, the slaves being prisoners of war and their descendants.

Some tribes in British Columbia continued to segregate and ostracize the descendants of slaves as late as the 1970s. Among Pacific Northwest tribes about a quarter of the population were slaves.

The citizens of New France received slaves as gifts from their allies among First Nations peoples. Slaves were prisoners taken in raids against the villages of the Fox nation, a tribe that was an ancient rival of the Miami people and their Algonquian allies. Native (or “pani”, a corruption of Pawnee) slaves were much easier to obtain and thus more numerous than African slaves in New France, but were less valued.

The average native slave died at 18, and the average African slave died at 25 (the average European could expect to live until the age of 35). By 1790 the abolition movement was gaining ground in Canada and the ill intent of slavery was evidenced by an incident involving a slave woman being violently abused by her slave owner on her way to being sold in the United States.

The Act Against Slavery of 1793 legislated the gradual abolition of slavery: no slaves could be imported; slaves already in the province would remain enslaved until death, no new slaves could be brought into Upper Canada, and children born to female slaves would be slaves but must be freed at age 25. The Act remained in force until 1833 when the British Parliament’s Slavery Abolition Act finally abolished slavery in all parts of the British Empire.

Historian Marcel Trudel has documented 4,092 recorded slaves throughout Canadian history, of which 2,692 were Aboriginal people, owned by the French, and 1,400 blacks owned by the British, together owned by approximately 1,400 masters. Trudel also noted 31 marriages took place between French colonists and Aboriginal slaves.


Fur traders in Canada, trading with First Nations, 1777: British agents worked to make the First Nations into military allies of the British, providing supplies, weapons, and encouragement. During the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) most of the tribes supported the British. In 1779, the Americans launched a campaign to burn the villages of the Iroquois in New York State.

The refugees fled to Fort Niagara and other British posts, and remained permanently in Canada. Although the British ceded the Old Northwest to the United States in the Treaty of Paris in 1783, it kept fortifications and trading posts in the region until 1795.

The British then evacuated American territory, but operated trading posts in British territory, providing weapons and encouragement to tribes that were resisting American expansion into such areas as Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. Officially, the British agents discouraged any warlike activities or raids on American settlements, but the Americans became increasingly angered, and this became one of the causes of the War of 1812.

In the war, the great majority of First Nations supported the British, and many fought under the aegis of Tecumseh. But Tecumseh died in battle in 1813 and the Indian coalition collapsed. The British had long wished to create a neutral Indian state in the American Old Northwest, and made this demand as late as 1814 at the peace negotiations at Ghent.

The Americans rejected the idea, the British dropped it, and Britain’s Indian allies lost British support. In addition, the Indians were no longer able to gather furs in American territory. Abandoned by their powerful sponsor, Great Lakes-area natives ultimately assimilated into American society, migrated to the west or to Canada, or were relocated onto reservations in Michigan and Wisconsin. Historians have unanimously agreed that the Indians were the major losers in the War of 1812.

19th century: North-West Rebellion and Red River Rebellion

Assiniboine hunting buffalo, c. 1851: Living conditions for Indigenous people in the prairie regions deteriorated quickly. Between 1875 and 1885, settlers and hunters of European descent contributed to hunting the North American bison almost to extinction; the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway brought large numbers of European settlers west who encroached on former Indigenous territory.

European Canadians established governments, police forces, and courts of law with different foundations than indigenous practices. Various epidemics continued to devastate Indigenous communities. All of these factors had a profound effect on Indigenous people, particularly those from the plains who had relied heavily on bison for food and clothing.

Most of those nations that agreed to treaties had negotiated for a guarantee of food and help to begin farming. Just as the bison disappeared (the last Canadian hunt was in 1879), Lieutenant-Governor Edgar Dewdney cut rations to indigenous people in an attempt to reduce government costs. Between 1880 and 1885, approximately 3,000 Indigenous people starved to death in the North-Western Territory/Northwest Territories.
Pitikwahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker):

Offended by the concepts of the treaties, Cree chiefs resisted them. Big Bear refused to sign Treaty 6 until starvation among his people forced his hand in 1882.[71] His attempts to unite Indigenous nations made progress. In 1884 the Métis (including the Anglo-Métis) asked Louis Riel to return from the United States, where he had fled after the Red River Rebellion, to appeal to the government on their behalf. The government gave a vague response. In March 1885, Riel, Gabriel Dumont, Honoré Jackson (a.k.a. Will Jackson), Crowfoot, Chief of the Blackfoot First Nation and Chief Poundmaker, who after the 1876 negotiations of Treaty 6 split off to form his band.

Together, they set up the Provisional Government of Saskatchewan, believing that they could influence the federal government in the same way as they had in 1869. The North-West Rebellion of 1885 was a brief and unsuccessful uprising by the Métis people of the District of Saskatchewan under Louis Riel against the Dominion of Canada, which they believed had failed to address their concerns for the survival of their people. In 1884, 2,000 Cree from reserves met near Battleford to organise into a large, cohesive resistance.

Discouraged by the lack of government response but encouraged by the efforts of the Métis at armed rebellion, Wandering Spirit and other young militant Cree attacked the small town of Frog Lake, killing Thomas Quinn, the hated Indian Agent and eight others. Although Big Bear actively opposed the attacks, he was charged and tried for treason and sentenced to three years in prison. After the Red River Rebellion of 1869–1870, Métis moved from Manitoba to the District of Saskatchewan, where they founded a settlement at Batoche on the South Saskatchewan River.

Mi’kmaq Grand Chief Jacques-Pierre Peminuit Paul (3rd from left with beard) meets Governor General of Canada, Marquess of Lorne, Red Chamber, Province House, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1879. In Manitoba settlers from Ontario began to arrive. They pushed for land to be allotted in the square concession system of English Canada, rather than the seigneurial system of strips reaching back from a river which the Métis were familiar with in their French-Canadian culture. The buffalo were being hunted to extinction by the Hudson’s Bay Company and other hunters, as for generations the Métis had depended on them as a chief source of food.

Colonization and integration

St. Paul’s Indian Industrial School, Manitoba, 1901: The history of colonization is complex, varied according to the time and place. France and Britain were the main colonial powers involved, though the United States also began to extend its territory at the expense of indigenous people as well.

From the late 18th century, European Canadians encouraged First Nations to assimilate into their own culture, referred to as “Canadian culture”. The assumption was that it was the correct one because the Canadians of European descent saw themselves as dominant, and technologically, politically and culturally more advanced.

There was resistance against this assimilation and many businesses rejected European practices. The Tecumseh Wigwam in Toronto, for example, did not adhere to the widely practiced Lord’s Day observance, making it a popular spot, especially on Sundays. These attempts reached a climax in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Founded in the 19th century, the Canadian Indian residential school system was intended to force the assimilation of Canadian Aboriginal and First Nations people into European-Canadian society. The purpose of the schools, which separated children from their families, has been described by commentators as “killing the Indian in the child.”

Hudson’s Bay territory: 1870s

Funded under the Indian Act by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, a branch of the federal government, the schools were run by churches of various denominations – about 60% by Roman Catholics, and 30% by the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada, along with its pre-1925 predecessors, Presbyterian, Congregationalist and Methodist churches.

The attempt to force assimilation involved punishing children for speaking their own languages or practicing their own faiths, leading to allegations in the 20th century of cultural genocide and ethnocide. There was widespread physical and sexual abuse. Overcrowding, poor sanitation, and a lack of medical care led to high rates of tuberculosis, and death rates of up to 69%.

Details of the mistreatment of students had been published numerous times throughout the 20th century, but following the closure of the schools in the 1960s, the work of indigenous activists and historians led to a change in the public perception of the residential school system, as well as official government apologies, and a (controversial) legal settlement.

Colonization had a significant impact on First Nations diet and health. According to the historian Mary-Ellen Kelm, “inadequate reserve allocations, restrictions on the food fishery, overhunting, and over-trapping” alienated First Nations from their traditional way of life, which undermined their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
20th century

Ethnomusicologist Frances Densmore recording Blackfoot chief Mountain Chief (1916): As Canadian ideas of progress evolved around the start of the 20th century, the federal Indian policy was directed at removing Indigenous people from their communal lands and encouraging assimilation. Amendments to the Indian Act in 1905 and 1911 made it easier for the government to expropriate reserve lands from First Nations. The government sold nearly half of the Blackfoot reserve in Alberta to settlers.

When the Kainai (Blood) Nation refused to accept the sale of their lands in 1916 and 1917, the Department of Indian Affairs held back funding necessary for farming until they relented. In British Columbia, the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission was created in 1912 to settle disputes over reserve lands in the province. The claims of Indigenous people were ignored, and the commission allocated new, less valuable lands (reserves) for First Nations.

Those nations who managed to maintain their ownership of good lands often farmed successfully. Indigenous people living near the Cowichan and Fraser rivers, and those from Saskatchewan managed to produce good harvests. Since 1881, those First Nations people living in the prairie provinces required permits from Indian Agents to sell any of their produce.

Later the government created a pass system in the old Northwest Territories that required indigenous people to seek written permission from an Indian Agent before leaving their reserves for any length of time. Indigenous people regularly defied those laws, as well as bans on Sun Dances and potlatches, in an attempt to practice their culture.

The 1930 Constitution Act or Natural Resources Acts was part of a shift acknowledging indigenous rights. It enabled provincial control of Crown land and allowed Provincial laws regulating game to apply to Indians, but it also ensured that “Indians shall have the right … of hunting, trapping and fishing game and fish for food at all seasons of the year on all unoccupied Crown lands and on any other lands to which the said Indians may have a right of access.”

First and Second World Wars

Aboriginal War Veterans monument: More than 6,000 Canadian First Nations, Inuit and Métis served with British forces during First World War and Second World War.

A generation of young native Canadian men fought on the battlefields of Europe during the Great War and approximately 300 of them died there.

When Canada declared war on Germany on September 10, 1939, the native community quickly responded to volunteer.

Four years later, in May 1943, the government declared that, as British subjects, all able Indian men of military age could be called up for training and service in Canada or overseas.

Late 20th century

Following the end of the Second World War, laws concerning First Nations in Canada began to change, albeit slowly. The federal prohibition of potlatch and Sun Dance ceremonies ended in 1951. Provincial governments began to accept the right of Indigenous people to vote. In June 1956, section 9 of the Citizenship Act was amended to grant formal citizenship to Status Indians and Inuit, retroactively as of January 1947.
In 1960,

First Nations people received the right to vote in federal elections without forfeiting their Indian status. By comparison, Native Americans in the United States had been allowed to vote since the 1920s.

1969 White Paper

In his 1969 White Paper, then-Minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chrétien, proposed the abolition of the Indian Act of Canada, the rejection of Aboriginal land claims, and the assimilation of First Nations people into the Canadian population with the status of “other ethnic minorities” rather than as a distinct group.

Harold Cardinal and the Indian Chiefs of Alberta responded with a document entitled “Citizens Plus” but commonly known as the “Red Paper”. In it, they explained Status Indians’ widespread opposition to Chrétien’s proposal. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the Liberals began to back away from the 1969 White Paper, particularly after the Calder case decision in 1973.

Health transfer policy

In 1970, severe mercury poisoning, called Ontario Minamata disease, was discovered among Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation and Wabaseemoong Independent Nations people, who lived near Dryden, Ontario. There was extensive mercury pollution caused by Dryden Chemicals Company’s waste water effluent in the Wabigoon-English River system. Because local fish were no longer safe to eat, the Ontario provincial government closed the commercial fisheries run by the First Nation people and ordered them to stop eating local fish.

Previously it had made up the majority of their diet. In addition to the acute mercury poisoning in northwestern Ontario, Aamjiwnaang First Nation people near Sarnia, Ontario experienced a wide range of chemical effects, including severe mercury poisoning. They suffered low birth rates, skewed birth-gender ratio, and health effects among the population.

This led to legislation and eventually the Indian Health Transfer Policy that provided a framework for the assumption of control of health services by First Nations people, and set forth a developmental approach to transfer centred on the concept of self-determination in health. Through this process, the decision to enter into transfer discussions with Health Canada rests with each community. Once involved in transfer, communities are able to take control of health programme responsibilities at a pace determined by their individual circumstances and health management capabilities.

The capacity, experience and relationships developed by First Nations as a result of health transfer was a factor that assisted the creation of the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia.

Elijah Harper and the Meech Lake Accord

In 1981, Elijah Harper, a Cree from Red Sucker Lake, Manitoba, became the first “Treaty Indian” in Manitoba to be elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. In 1990, Harper achieved national fame by holding an eagle feather as he refused to accept the Meech Lake Accord, a constitutional amendment package negotiated to gain Quebec’s acceptance of the Constitution Act, 1982, but also one that did not address any First Nations grievances. The accord was negotiated in 1987 without the input of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.

The third, final constitutional conference on Aboriginal peoples was also unsuccessful. The Manitoba assembly was required to unanimously consent to a motion allowing it to hold a vote on the accord, because of a procedural rule. Twelve days before the ratification deadline for the Accord, Harper began a filibuster that prevented the assembly from ratifying the accord. Because Meech Lake failed in Manitoba, the proposed constitutional amendment failed. Harper opposed the Charlottetown Accord in 1992, even though Assembly of First Nations Chief Ovide Mercredi supported it.
Women’s status and Bill C-31, The Indian Act

According to the Indian Act, status Indian women who married men who were not status Indians lost their treaty status, and their children would not get status. However, in the reverse situation, if a status Indian man married a woman who was not a status Indian, the man would keep his status and his children would also receive treaty status.

In the 1970s, the Indian Rights for Indian Women and Native Women’s Association of Canada groups campaigned against this policy because it discriminated against women and failed to fulfill treaty promises. They successfully convinced the federal government to change the section of the act with the adoption of Bill C-31 on June 28, 1985.

Women who had lost their status and children who had been excluded were then able to register and gain official Indian status. Despite these changes, status Indian women who married men who were not status Indians could pass their status on only one generation: their children would gain status, but (without a marriage to a full-status Indian) their grandchildren would not. A status Indian man who married a woman who was not a status Indian retained status as did his children, but his wife did not gain status, nor did his grandchildren.

Bill C-31 also gave elected bands the power to regulate who was allowed to reside on their reserves and to control development on their reserves. It abolished the concept of “enfranchisement” by which First Nations people could gain certain rights by renouncing their Indian status.

Erasmus–Dussault – The Royal Commission on Aboriginal People

In 1991, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney created the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples chaired by René Dussault and Georges Erasmus. Their 1996 report proposed the creation of a government for (and by) the First Nations that would be responsible within its own jurisdiction, and with which the federal government would speak on a “Nation-to-Nation” basis.

This proposal offered a far different way of doing politics than the traditional policy of assigning First Nations matters under the jurisdiction of the Indian and Northern Affairs, managed by one minister of the federal cabinet. The report also recommended providing the governments of the First Nations with up to $2 billion every year until 2010, in order to reduce the economic gap between the First Nations and the rest of the Canadian citizenry.

The money would represent an increase of at least 50% to the budget of Indian and Northern Affairs. The report engaged First Nations leaders to think of ways to cope with the challenging issues their people were facing, so the First Nations could take their destiny into their own hands.

The federal government, then headed by Jean Chrétien, responded to the report a year later by officially presenting its apologies for the forced acculturation the federal government had imposed on the First Nations, and by offering an “initial” provision of $350 million.

In the spirit of the Eramus–Dussault commission, tripartite (federal, provincial, and First Nations) accords have been signed since the report was issued. Several political crises between different provincial governments and different bands of the First Nations also occurred in the late 20th century, notably the Oka Crisis, Ipperwash Crisis, Burnt Church Crisis, and the Gustafsen Lake Standoff.

Early 21st century: Grand River land dispute and Kelowna Accord

In 2001, the Quebec government, the federal government, and the Cree Nation signed “La Paix des Braves” (The Peace of the Braves, a reference to the 1701 peace treaty between the French and the Iroquois League). The agreement allowed Hydro-Québec to exploit the province’s hydroelectric resources in exchange for an allocation of $3.5 billion to be given to the government of the Cree Nation. Later, the Inuit of northern Quebec (Nunavik) joined in the agreement.

The defence of Cree rights: In 2005, the leaders of the First Nations, various provincial governments, and the federal government produced an agreement called the Kelowna Accord, which would have yielded $5 billion over 10 years, but the new federal government of Stephen Harper (2006) did not follow through on the working paper.

First Nations, along with the Métis and the Inuit, have claimed to receive inadequate funding for education, and allege their rights have been overlooked. James Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, listed the encouragement of indigenous young people as one of his key priorities. During his term that began in 2002, he launched initiatives to promote literacy and bridge building. Bartleman himself is the first Aboriginal person to hold the lieutenant governor’s position in Ontario.

As of 2006, over 75 First Nations communities exist in boil-water advisory conditions. In late 2005, the drinking water crisis of the Kashechewan First Nation received national media attention when E. coli was discovered in their water supply system, following two years of living under a boil-water advisory. The drinking water was supplied by a new treatment plant built in March 1998. The cause of the tainted water was a plugged chlorine injector that was not discovered by local operators, who were not qualified to be running the treatment plant.

When officials arrived and fixed the problem, chlorine levels were around 1.7 mg/l, which was blamed for skin disorders such as impetigo and scabies. An investigation led by Health Canada revealed that the skin disorders were likely due to living in squalor. The evacuation of Kashechewan was largely viewed by Canadians as a cry for help for other underlying social and economic issues which Aboriginal people in Canada face.
On June 29, 2007, Canadian Aboriginal groups held countrywide protests aimed at ending First Nations poverty, dubbed the Aboriginal Day of Action.

The demonstrations were largely peaceful, although groups disrupted transportation with blockades or bonfires; a stretch of the Highway 401 was shut down, as was the Canadian National Railway’s line between Toronto and Montreal.

The Idle No More protest movement originated among the Aboriginals in Canada and their non-Aboriginal supporters in Canada, and to a lesser extent, internationally. It consisted of a number of political actions worldwide, inspired in part by the hunger strike of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and further coordinated via social media. A reaction to alleged abuses of indigenous treaty rights by the current federal government, the movement takes particular issue with the recent omnibus bill Bill C-45.

Canadian Crown and First Nations relations

Honourable David Laird explaining terms of Treaty #8, Fort Vermilion, 1899. The relationship between the Canadian Crown and the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada stretches back to the first interactions between European colonialists and North American indigenous people. Over centuries of interaction, treaties were established, and Canada’s First Nations have, like the Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand, come to generally view these agreements as being between them and the Crown of Canada, and not the ever-changing governments.

The associations exist between the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and the reigning monarch of Canada; as was stated in the proposed First Nations – Federal Crown Political Accord: “cooperation will be a cornerstone for partnership between Canada and First Nations, wherein Canada is the short-form reference to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.

These relations are governed by the established treaties; the Supreme Court stated that treaties “served to reconcile pre-existing Aboriginal sovereignty with assumed Crown sovereignty, and to define Aboriginal rights,” and the First Nations saw these agreements as meant to last “as long as the sun shines, grass grows and rivers flow.”


Although taxes are not specifically addressed in the written terms of any treaties, assurances regarding taxation were clearly offered when at least some treaties were negotiated. The various statutory exemptions from taxation are established under the current Indian Act, which reads:

87(1). Notwithstanding any other Act of Parliament or any Act of the legislature of a province … the following property is exempt from taxation
I(a) the interest of an Indian or a band in reserve lands or surrendered lands; and
(b) the personal property of an Indian or a band situated on a reserve.

87(2). No Indian or band is subject to taxation in respect of the ownership, occupation, possession or use of any property mentioned in paragraph (1)(a) or
(b) or is otherwise subject to taxation in respect of any such property.
Many scholars believe these exemptions serve to oppress aboriginal peoples by allowing conservative minded courts to impart their own (sometimes discriminatory) views into the aboriginal taxation jurisprudence.

As one professor wrote:

“Because income-generating activity in the “commercial mainstream” contrasts with income-generating activity that is “‘intimately connected to’ the reserve… The Tax Court of Canada implies that the “traditional way of life” of Aboriginal peoples does not embrace “economic aspects” … beyond a subsistence economy.”

Political organization: First Nations government (Canada)

Self-government has given chiefs and their councils powers which combine those of a province, school board, health board and municipality. Councils are also largely self-regulating regarding utilities, environmental protection, natural resources, building codes, etc. There is concern that this wide-ranging authority, concentrated in a single council, might be a cause of the dysfunctional governments experienced by many First Nations.

Ovide Mercredi, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations: The (AFN) is a body of First Nations leaders in Canada. The aims of the organization are to protect the rights, treaty obligations, ceremonies, and claims of citizens of the First Nations in Canada. After the failures of the League of Indians in Canada in the Interwar period and the North American Indian Brotherhood in two decades following the Second World War, the Aboriginal peoples of Canada organised themselves once again in the early 1960s. The National Indian Council was created in 1961 to represent Indigenous people, including Treaty/Status Indians, non-status people, the Métis people, though not the Inuit.

This organization also collapsed in 1968 as the three groups failed to act as one, so the non-status and Métis groups formed the Native Council of Canada and Treaty/Status groups formed the National Indian Brotherhood (NIB), an umbrella group for provincial and territorial First Nations organizations.


Language families in Northern America at the time of European contact: Today, there are over thirty different languages spoken by indigenous people, most of which are spoken only in Canada. Many are in decline. Those with the most speakers include Anishinaabe and Cree (together totalling up to 150,000 speakers); Inuktitut with about 29,000 speakers in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Quebec), and Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador); and Mi’kmaq, with around 8,500 speakers, mostly in Eastern Canada. Many aboriginal peoples have lost their native languages and often all but surviving elders speak English or French as their first language.

Two of Canada’s territories give official status to native languages. In Nunavut, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun are official languages alongside English and French, and Inuktitut is a common vehicular language in government. In the Northwest Territories, the Official Languages Act. declares that there are eleven different languages: Chipewyan, Cree, English, French, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey and Tłįchǫ. Besides English and French, these languages are not vehicular in government; official status entitles citizens to receive services in them on request and to deal with the government in them.


Haida totem pole, Thunderbird Park, British Columbia: First Nations were producing art for thousands of years before the arrival of European settler colonists and the eventual establishment of Canada as a nation state. Like the peoples who produced them, indigenous art traditions spanned territories across North America. Indigenous art traditions are organized by art historians according to cultural, linguistic or regional groups: Northwest Coast, Plateau, Plains, Eastern Woodlands, Subarctic, and Arctic.

Art traditions vary enormously amongst and within these diverse groups. Indigenous art with a focus on portability and the body is distinguished from European traditions and its focus on architecture. Indigenous visual art may be used in conjunction with other arts. Shamans’ masks and rattles are used ceremoniously in dance, storytelling and music.

Artworks preserved in museum collections date from the period after European contact and show evidence of the creative adoption and adaptation of European trade goods such as metal and glass beads. During the 19th and the first half of the 20th century the Canadian government pursued an active policy of forced and cultural assimilation toward indigenous peoples. The Indian Act banned manifestations of the Sun Dance, the Potlatch, and works of art depicting them.

It was not until the 1950s and 1960s that indigenous artists such as Mungo Martin, Bill Reid and Norval Morrisseau began to publicly renew and re-invent indigenous art traditions. Currently there are indigenous artists practising in all media in Canada and two indigenous artists, Edward Poitras and Rebecca Belmore, have represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1995 and 2005 respectively.
Pow-wow at Eel Ground First Nation: The First Nations peoples of Canada comprise diverse ethnic groups, each with their own musical traditions. There are general similarities in the music, but is usually social (public) or ceremonial (private). Public, social music may be dance music accompanied by rattles and drums.

Private, ceremonial music includes vocal songs with accompaniment on percussion, used to mark occasions like Midewiwin ceremonies and Sun Dances. Traditionally, Aboriginal peoples used the materials at hand to make their instruments for centuries before Europeans immigrated to Canada.

First Nations people made gourds and animal horns into rattles, which were elaborately carved and beautifully painted. In woodland areas, they made horns of birch bark and drumsticks of carved antlers and wood. Traditional percussion instruments such as drums were generally made of carved wood and animal hides. These musical instruments provide the background for songs, and songs are the background for dances. Traditional First Nations people consider song and dance to be sacred. For years after Europeans came to Canada, First Nations people were forbidden to practice their ceremonies.


Cultural areas of North American Indigenous peoples at the time of European contact: In the 20th century, the First Nations population of Canada increased tenfold.[127] Between 1900 and 1950 the population grew only by 29% but after the 1960s the infant mortality level on reserves dropped and the population grew by 161%.

Since the 1980s, the number of First Nations babies more than doubled and currently almost half of the First Nations population is under the age of 25. As a result, the First Nations population of Canada is expected to increase in the coming decades. The 2006 census counted a total Aboriginal population of 1,172,790 (3.75%) which includes 698,025 North American Indians (2.23%).

First Nations by Province or Territory

There are distinct First Nations in Canada, originating across the country. Indian reserves, established in Canadian law by treaties such as Treaty 7, are the very limited contemporary lands of First Nations recognized by the non-indigenous governments. A few reserves exist within cities, such as the Opawikoscikan Reserve in Prince Albert, Wendake in Quebec City or Stony Plain 135 in the Edmonton Capital Region. There are more reserves in Canada than there are First Nations, as First Nations were ceded multiple reserves by treaty.

People who self-identify as having North American Indian ancestors are the plurality in large areas of Canada (areas coloured in brown). First Nations can be grouped into cultural areas based on their ancestors’ primary lifeway, or occupation, at the time of European contact. These culture areas correspond closely with physical and ecological regions of Canada.

Ethnographers commonly classify indigenous peoples of the Americas in the United States and Canada into ten geographical regions with shared cultural traits (called cultural areas). The following list groups peoples by their region of origin, followed by the current location. See the individual article on each tribe, band society or First Nation for a history of their movements. See the Federally recognized tribes for the United States’ official list of recognized Native American tribes. The Canadian (in whole or in part) regions are Arctic, Subarctic, Northeast Woodlands, Plains, and Plateau.

The Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast communities centred around ocean and river fishing; in the interior of British Columbia, hunting and gathering and river fishing. In both of these areas, salmon was of chief importance. For the people of the plains, bison hunting was the primary activity. In the subarctic forest, other species such as the moose were more important. For peoples near the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, shifting agriculture was practised, including the raising of maize, beans, and squash.

Today, Aboriginal people work in a variety of occupations and live outside their ancestral homes. The traditional cultures of their ancestors, shaped by nature, still exert a strong influence on their culture, from spirituality to political attitudes.

Contemporary issues

First Nations peoples face a number of problems to a greater degree than Canadians overall, many of their living conditions are comparable to developing nations like Haiti. Aboriginals have higher rates of unemployment, rates of incarceration, substance abuse, health problems, homelessness, fetal alcohol syndrome, lower levels of education and higher levels of poverty.

Residential schools

Canada’s federal residential school system began in the mid-1870s, building upon a patchwork of boarding schools established and operated by various Christian denominations. Member of Parliament for Assiniboia West, Nicholas Flood Davin, produced a report, known generally as the Davin Report, that recommended the establishment of a school system similar to that being created in the United States.

One of its chief goals was to remove Aboriginal children from ‘the influence of the wigwam’, which he claimed was stronger than that of existing day schools, and keep them instead ‘constantly within the circle of civilized conditions’. While the history of the Indian Residential School (IRS) system is a checkered one, much criticism has been levelled at both the system and those who established and supported it. Neglect and poor nutrition were often what Aboriginal children experienced, particularly in the early decades of the system’s operation.

The stripping away of traditional native culture — sometimes referred to as “cultural genocide” — is another charge levelled at the residential schools. In many schools, students were not allowed to speak their Indigenous languages or practice any of their own customs, and thus lost their sense of identity, inevitably driving a cultural wedge between children and their family.

By 1920, attendance at some sort of school was mandatory for Aboriginal children in Canada. The Indian Act made education compulsory, and where there were no federal days schools — or, in later decades, a provincial public school — a residential school was the only choice.

Enrolment statistics indicate that between 20% and 30% of Aboriginal children during the history of the IRS system attended a residential school for at least a year, and many were enrolled for ten years or more. In some cases, children could return home on weekends and holidays, but for those in schools established far away from remote communities, this was not possible.

The removal of children from their families and communities brought short and long term harm to many native communities. While many schools had infirmaries and provided medical care in later decades, abuse of various kinds and crowded conditions in the first decades of the IRS history led to poor health and even death for a percentage of those enrolled.

It has been argued that the psychological and emotional trauma resulting from both the abuse and the removal of the children from their families and culture has resulted in substance abuse, greater domestic violence, unemployability, and increased rates of suicide In many cases, children leaving residential schools found themselves at an intersection of cultures, where they were no longer comfortable within their own cultures, yet not accepted into mainstream Canadian culture. Former students are now routinely referred to as “survivors.”

Not all Aboriginal children attended residential schools. During the period in which the schools operated, more than a third of indigenous children attended federal day schools, and about a third received no schooling at all. It is however the residential school system that receives much of the blame for the various problems and challenges facing Canada’s indigenous people today.

During the years in which the residential schools operated, they were regarded by most Canadians as a sensible and beneficial solution to native education, and in some cases, Aboriginal communities specifically requested that a residential school be built. When the system began to closing down in the 1960s, a significant number of communities asked that their school remain open.

The last Canadian residential school to close was Gordon Residential School in Saskatchewan, founded in 1889, and closed in 1996. The Christian denominations that operated the schools on behalf of the federal government have expressed regret and issued apologies for their part in a system that harmed so many indigenous children. In 2008, the government issued an official apology to the survivors of residential schools and their families.

In June 2015, the federally-established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, charged with investigating and reporting on the residential school system, issued its summary report, and in December of the same year, its final report. Chief Commissioner, Judge Murray Sinclair, has publicly declared the residential school system a deliberate act of cultural genocide against First Nations peoples.

In its report, the commission submitted 94 recommendations to the Canadian government, recommendations which, if implemented, would substantially improve indigenous race relations, increase quality of life for survivors and extended families, and help undo the damage caused by residential schools.

While the Liberal government, under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has committed itself to improving the lives of Canada’s indigenous peoples, and specifically to implementing the TRC recommendations, some of those recommendations may be beyond the power of the Canadian government. The countless research documents assembled by the TRC will be archived in a special repository at the University of Manitoba.


The income of women with status living off-reserve was on average $13,870 a year, according to a 1996 Canadian census. This is about $5500 less than non-Indigenous women, such as Inuit and Métis women, which recorded slightly higher average annual incomes; regardless of the small discrepancy, all of which are substantially less than Statistics Canada’s estimated amount of which an individual living in a large Canadian city would require to meet their needs.

It is not unlikely for Aboriginal women living in poverty to not only tend to their own needs, but often tend to the needs of their elderly parents, care for loved ones in ill-health, as well as raising children; all of which is often supported only on a single income. It is believed that homelessness and inadequate shelter are widespread problems facing Aboriginal families, in all settings.


A paramount conclusion by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples is that the repeated assaults on the culture and collective identity of the Aboriginal people has resulted in a weakened foundation of Aboriginal society and has contributed to the alienation that inevitably drives some to self-destructive and antisocial behaviour; The social problems among Aboriginal people are, in large measure, a legacy of history.

Crime and incarceration

Aboriginals are also more likely to be the victims of crime. This is particularly true in the younger population (aged 15–34), where acts of violence are two and a half times more likely to occur than in the older population. Domestic violence and sexual abuse against children is more prevalent in the Aboriginal population with sexual abuse affecting 25-50% of Aboriginal female children versus 20-25% of female children in the general population. Children who come from homes with a history of violence are at a greater risk of becoming the perpetrators of violence later in life. This is especially true of males.

In 1998/99, 17% of incarcerated individuals in Canada were of Aboriginal descent, despite only representing 2.7% of the general population. This is a sixfold increase in rates of incarceration within the Aboriginal population as opposed to the general Canadian population. There are many reasons for the over-representation of Aboriginals within the Canadian justice system. Lack of education, poverty, unemployment and abuse all lead to higher crime rates. Also, statistically, Aboriginals have a greater chance of conviction and subsequently, incarceration once convicted. They are also much less likely to receive parole during their sentence.


The Canadian federal government is responsible for health and social services on the reserve and in Inuit communities, while the provincial and territorial governments provide services elsewhere. The divide between each level of government has led to a gap in services for Aboriginal people living off-reserve and in Canadian towns and cities.

Although Aboriginal people living off-reserve have access to the programs and services designed for the general population, these programs and services do not address the specific needs of Aboriginal people, nor is it delivered in a culturally appropriate way. It has not been until recently that the Canadian federal government had to increase recognition to the needs for programs and services for Aboriginal people in predominantly non-Aboriginal communities.

It is however funding that lags the growth of urban Aboriginal populations and the uncoordinated delivery of services through various government departments would also pose as a barrier; The federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians pointed out that in 2003 almost 90 percent of the funding for programs designed for Aboriginal peoples is spent on reserves, while off-reserve programs for Aboriginal people are delivered through just 22 federal departments, as well as other provincial and territorial agencies. The federal subcommittee on Indigenous child welfare described a ‘jurisdictional web’ in which there is little to no coordination with and/or between municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.

The health care services available to Aboriginal people is rarely delivered in a culturally sensitive approach. It is the constant cast of ‘the other’ by the settler Canadian population that contaminates the delivery of such necessary services to Aboriginal peoples. It was argued by Ontario finance minister Jim Flaherty in 1992 that the Canadian government could boost health-care funding for “real people in real towns” by cutting the bureaucracy that serves only Aboriginal peoples. These types of statements, especially made by people often heard by a greater audience, have detrimental and influential effects on the overall attitudes of settler population folks, as well as Aboriginal peoples.


There are marked differences between the epidemiology of diabetes in First Nation population compared to the general population. Reasons for the different rate of Type 2 Diabetes between First Nation and the general population include a complex combination of environmental (lifestyle, diet, poverty) and genetic and biological factors (e.g. thrifty genotype hypothesis, thrifty phenotype) – though to what extent each factor plays a role is still not clear.

The Aboriginal population in Canada (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) have a significantly higher prevalence rate of diabetes than the non-Aboriginal population.

Age-standardized rates show that the prevalence of diabetes among First Nations individuals living on-reserve is 17.2%; First Nations individuals living off-reserve is 10.3%; Métis individuals 7.3%; and non-Aboriginal peoples at 5.0%.

It is important to note that Aboriginal individuals are generally diagnosed at a younger age than non-Aboriginal individuals, and Aboriginal females experience higher rates of gestational diabetes than non-Aboriginal females. The complications and prevalence of diabetes are seen among the Aboriginal population more often than non-Aboriginal population; These may be attributed to the socio-cultural, biological, environmental and lifestyle changes seen in the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis populations, which have been most especially prevalent in the last half century, all of which contributing significantly to the increased rates of diabetes and the complications associated among the Aboriginal population.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy at birth is significantly lower for First Nations babies than for babies in the Canadian population as a whole. As of 2001, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada estimates First Nations life expectancy to be 8.1 years shorter for males and 5.5 years shorter for females.Where females in the general population had a life expectancy at birth of 82 years, First Nations females had a life expectancy of 76 years. In males the life expectancy for First Nations individuals was 69 years as opposed to 77 in the general population. The reasons behind the lower birth rate for First Nations individuals are varied and complex; however, social determinants of health are thought to play a big part.


Overall, First Nations individuals have some of the highest rates of suicide globally. Suicide rates are more than twice the sex-specific rate and also three times the age-specific rates of non-Aboriginal Canadians. Residential Aboriginals between ages 10 and 29 show an elevated suicide risk as compared to non-residential Aboriginals by 5-6 times.

One theory for the increased incidences of suicide within Aboriginal populations as compared to the general Canadian population is called acculturation stress which results from the intersection of multiple cultures within one’s life. This leads to differing expectations and cultural clashes within the community, the family and the individual.
At the community level, a general economic disadvantage is seen, exacerbated by unemployment and low education levels, leading to poverty, political disempowerment and community disorganization. The family suffers through a loss of tradition as they attempt to assimilate into Canadian culture.
These lead to low self-esteem in the individual as First Nations culture and tradition are marginalized affecting one’s sense of self-identity. These factors combine to create a world where First Nations individuals feel they cannot identify completely as Aboriginal, nor can they fully identify as mainstream Canadians. When that balance cannot be found, many (particularly youths) turn to suicide as a way out.
Mssing and murdered women

Across Canada, there has been a large number of missing and murdered women of aboriginal descent since 1980. 16% of female murder victims and 12% of missing women have been aboriginal, while demographically they comprise only 4% of the overall female population. This amounts to almost 1,200 aboriginal females either missing or murdered in just over 30 years.
I 2014 the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) released Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Review. This publication documents the official findings of this demographic as well as advises for future change. It finds that there are 164 Aboriginal women still missing and 1,017 murdered, making for a total of 1,181. “There are 225 unsolved cases of either missing or murdered Aboriginal females: 105 missing for more than 30 days as of November 4, 2013, who cause of disappearance was categorized as ‘unknown’ or ‘foul play suspected’ and 120 unsolved homicides between 1980 and 2012.”
Indigenous women in Canada are overrepresented among the missing and murdered females in Canada. Additionally, there are shared characteristics among these cases, most of the murders were committed by men and were someone the victim knew, either a partner or an acquaintance. “Aboriginal women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 5 times more likely than other women of the same age to die as a result of violence”. These statistics portray the severity and prevalence of violence against indigenous women in Canada.
Self-governance and preservation of indigenous territories become increasingly difficult as natural resources continue to be exploited by foreign companies. Projects such as “mining, logging, hydroelectric construction, large-scale export oriented agribusiness or oil exploration” are usually coupled with environmental degradation and occasionally violence and militarization.”
Many scholars go so far as to link the proliferation of global neoliberalism with a rise in violence. Women’s concerns are nearly always pushed aside, to be addressed later; their safety is therefore often compromised and not deemed priority. Privatization of public services and reduction in the universality of health care produces negative repercussions for those of lower socioeconomic status in rural locations; these downsides are magnified for female Aboriginals.
2.) Status of First Nations treaties in British Columbia
The status of the First Nations, aboriginal people of British Columbia (BC), Canada, is a long-standing problem that has become a major issue in recent years. In 1763 the British Crown declared that only it could acquire land from First Nations through treaties.

Historically only two treaties were signed with the First Nations of BC. The first of which was the Douglas Treaties, negotiated by Sir James Douglas with the native people of southern Vancouver Island from 1850-1854.[2] The second treaty, Treaty 8, signed in 1899 was part of the Numbered Treaties that were signed with First Nations outside of British Columbia.

British Columbian Treaty 8 signatories are located in the Peace River Country or the far North East of BC. For over nine decades no more treaties were signed with First Nations of BC; many Native people wished to negotiate treaties, but successive BC provincial governments refused until the 1990s.

A major development was the 1997 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Delgamuukw v. British Columbia case that aboriginal title still exists in British Columbia and that when dealing with Crown land, the government must consult with and may have to compensate First Nations whose rights are affected

Traditional land of the Tsawwassen First Nation. In their 2009 treaty they will have title to 724 hectares (7.24 km2): In 1991 the Report of the BC Claims Task Force was released recommending a treaty commission be set up. The British Crown passed its authority to negotiate treaties to Canada when it was created in 1867. Even though only the Canadian federal government has the authority to enter into treaties with First Nations in 1992 the newly created British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTP) and BC Treaty Process included the BC provincial government in the process by agreement among Canada, BC and the First Nations. As of 2009 there are 60 First Nations participating in the BC treaty process. Because some First Nations negotiate at a common table, there are 49 sets of negotiations. From 1992 to 2009 there have been a few treaties completed including the Maa-nulth First Nations Treaty signed on April 9, 2009, and the Tsawwassen First Nation Treaty signed on April 3, 2009. Another Treaty was ratified outside the BC Treaty process in 1999, the Nisga’a Treaty.

In May 1993 the Treaty Commission allocated approximately $432 million in negotiation support funding to more than 50 First Nations- $345.6 million in the form of loans and $86.4 million in the form of contributions. Of that money the Treaty Commission’s total operating costs from 1993 to March 31, 2009 has spent $34.2 million.

From 1850-1854 Sir James Douglas, governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island, signed a number of treaties called the Douglas Treaties with the First Nations of Vancouver Island
There is considerable disagreement about treaty negotiations; while polls have shown that 25% of British Columbians are opposed to it,[13] a substantial minority of native people consider the current treaty process inadequate and have therefore refused to participate. Tapping into this public sentiment in 2002, the BC Liberal Party mailed out ballots for a provincial British Columbia aboriginal treaty referendum on principles for treaty negotiations, sparking protests and a boycott. Because of the boycott and general public apathy only about a third of eligible voters took part in the referendum, which passed with 80% of those who responded voting “Yes” to continuing the Treaty Process.
A November 21, 2007 court threatened the Treaty Process when the ruling for the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation was given. The judge ruled that the Xeni Gwet’in could demonstrate aboriginal title to half of the Nemaiah Valley, and that the province had no power over these lands.[16] Under the BC treaty process, negotiating nations have received as little as 5% of their claimed land recognized.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, member governments of which reject the treaty process and remain outside it, has called the court victory a “nail in the coffin” of the B.C. treaty process. He went on to say, “Why would any First Nation be foolish enough to ratify any treaty settlement for less than five per cent of their territory when the Xeni Gwet’in have achieved recognition of their title to 50 per cent of their territory?”
Even with the Xeni Gwet’in ruling First Nations across BC are still continuing the Treaty process advancing through the six-stage process to eventual Treaty implementation. While Chief Stewart Phillip had claimed that the First Nations themselves would slow down or leave the treaty process it is the Canadian government who is holding up many of the treaties.[17]
BC Treaty gotiation stages
In 1992 The Treaty Commission and the treaty process were established in by agreement among Canada, British Columbia and the First Nations Summit. Through the Treaty Commission a process was reached where treaties would follow a six-stage system to successful Negotiation. Stone mask of Nisga’a people, 18th-early 19th century. The Nisga’a Treaty went into effect on May 11, 2000.

Relief Map of British Columbia

Stage Number Stage Name Description Reference
Stage 1 Statement of Intent to Negotiate A First Nation submits a Statement Of Intent (SOI) stating among other things who is claiming, proof that the negotiating party is supported by the community and where the claim will be made. [18]

Stage 2 Readiness To Negotiate Within 45 days of submitting the SOI the parties must sit down and show that all parties have the will and resources to negotiate a treaty. [18]

Stage 3 Negotiation Of a Framework Agreement Basically the “table of contents” of a comprehensive treaty. The three parties agree on the subjects to be negotiated and an estimated time frame for stage four agreement-in-principle negotiations. [18]

Stage 4 Negotiation Of An Agreement In Principle The negotiating parties examine in detail the elements outlined in their framework agreement with the goal of solving the all problems and creating a working treaty. [18]

Stage 5 Negotiation to Finalize a Treaty The treaty for all intents and purposes is finished at this stage the treaty has to be approved by all parties of the negotiating team. [18]

Stage 6 Implementation of the Treaty Applying and running the First Nation as set out by the treaty. [18]

First Nation treaty status
First Nation Treaty Council affiliation(s) Region/Location Treaty Status Date Details
Acho Dene Koe First Nation
Deh Cho First Nations Tribal Council
Peace Country (NE BC & Alberta)/NWT/Yukon
Stage 2[9]

Adams Lake Indian Band
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
Not participating in treaty process [19]

Ahousaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [20]

Aitchelitz Band
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley
Stage 4 [21]

Alexandria First Nation
Tsilhqot’in Tribal Council
Cariboo/Fraser Canyon
Not participating in treaty process[22]

Alexis Creek First Nation
Tsilhqot’in Tribal Council
Not participating in treaty process[22]

Ashcroft Indian Band
Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council
Thompson Country
Not participating in treaty process [23]

Beecher Bay Indian Band
Vancouver Island
Douglas Treaties[2]
1850-54 Te’mexw Treaty Association; Renegotiating in the BC Treaty Process, presently at Stage 4 [24]

Blueberry River First Nations
Treaty 8 Tribal Association
Peace River Country
Treaty 8, Treaty ratified [25]
June 21, 1899 Discussions with BC and Canada outside the treaty process to adjust Treaty 8.
Bonaparte Indian Band
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
Thompson Country
Not participating in treaty process [19]

Boothroyd Indian Band
Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council
Fraser Canyon
Not participating in treaty process [23]

Boston Bar Indian Band
Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council
Fraser Canyon
Not participating in treaty process [23]

Bridge River Indian Band
Lillooet Tribal Council
Bridge River-Lillooet Country/Fraser Canyon
Not participating in treaty process [26]

Burns Lake Indian Band
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
The Interior
Stage 4 [27]

Esketemc First Nation
unaffiliated Cariboo, Williams Lake
Stage 4 [28]
negotiating independently
Cacli’p/Xaxli’p First Nation
Lillooet Tribal Council
Lillooet Country/Fraser Canyon
Stage 3 [29]
As of March 2001, the Xaxli’p First Nation left the negotiating table.[29]

Campbell River First Nation (Wei Wai Kum)
Kwakiutl District Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [30]
Hamatla Treaty Society In suspension[9]

Canim Lake Band
Northern Shuswap Tribal Council
Stage 4 [31]

Canoe Creek Band/Dog Creek Indian Band
Northern Shuswap Tribal Council
Stage 4 [31]

Cape Mudge First Nation (Wei Wai Kai)
Kwakiutl District Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [30]
Hamatla Treaty Society; In suspension[9]

Carcross/Tagish First Nation
Northern Regional Negotiations Table
Atlin Country/Yukon
Stage 4 [32]

Cayoose Creek First Nation
Lillooet Tribal Council
Lillooet Country/Fraser Canyon
Not participating in treaty process [26]

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations
Atlin Country/Yukon
Stage 4 [32]
Northern Regional Negotiations Table

Chawathil First Nation
Stó:lō Tribal Council
Fraser Valley
Not participating in treaty process [21]

Cheam Indian Band
Stó:lō Tribal Council
Fraser Valley
Not participating in treaty process [21]

Chehalis First Nation
no affiliation Fraser Valley
No Information
Chemainus First Nation
Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [33]
Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group

Cheslatta Indian Band
unaffiliated The Interior
Stage 3 [34]
Negotiating independently
Coldwater Indian Band
Nicola Tribal Association
Nicola Country
Not participating in treaty process[35]

Columbia Lake First Nation
Ktunaxa Kinbasket Tribal Council
Stage 4 [36]
Also known as ?Akisq’nuk First Nation
Cook’s Ferry Indian Band
Nicola Tribal Association
Thompson Country
Not participating in treaty process[35]

Cowichan Tribes
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [33]
Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group; Cowichan Tribes is the largest First Nation band in BC with 4,324 members[37]

Da’naxda’xw Awaetlatla Nation
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [38]
Winalagalis Treaty Group

Dease River First Nation
Kaska Nation
Cassiar Country
Stage 4 [39]
Negotiations are suspended until Canada resolves legal issues related to Yukon, BC boundaries.[39]

Ditidaht First Nation
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [9]
Non-member affiliate of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Doig River First Nation
Treaty 8 Tribal Association
Peace River Country
Treaty 8, Treaty ratified [25]
June 21, 1899 Discussions with BC and Canada outside the treaty process to adjust Treaty 8.
Douglas First Nation
In-SHUCK-ch Nation, Lower Stl’atl’imx Tribal Council
Lower Lillooet River Valley
Stage 5 [9]

Ehattesaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [20]

Esquimalt First Nation
Vancouver Island
Douglas Treaties[2]
Fort Nelson First Nation
Peace River Country
Treaty 8, Treaty ratified [25]
June 21, 1899 Negotiating independently
Gitanmaax Band Council
Skeena Country, Gitanmaax
Stage 4 [40]
Gitxsan Treaty Society

Gitanyow First Nation
Skeena Country
Stage 4 [41]
Negotiating independently
Gitsegukla Indian Band
Skeena Country, Kitsegeucla
Stage 4 [40]
Gitxsan Treaty Society

Gitwangak Indian Band
Skeena Country, Kitwanga
Stage 4 [40]
Gitxsan Treaty Society

Gitxaala Nation
North Coast
Not participating in treaty process [42]
Also known as Kitkatla First Nation
Formerly part of the Gitxsan Treaty Society

Glen Vowell Indian Band
Skeena Country
Stage 4 [40]
Gitxsan Treaty Society

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation
Kwakiutl District Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [38]
Also affiliated with the Winalagalis Treaty Group

Gwawaenuk Tribe
Vancouver Island
No Information INAC number – 627 [43]

Halfway River First Nation
Treaty 8 Tribal Association
Peace River Country
Treaty 8, Treaty ratified [25]
June 21, 1899 Discussions with BC and Canada outside the treaty process to adjust Treaty 8.
Hagwilget Village First Nation
Office of the Wet’suwet’en
Bulkley Country/Skeena Country
Stage 4 [44]

Halalt First Nation
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [33]
Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group

Hartley Bay Indian Band
British Columbia Coast
Stage 4 [42]
Tsimshian First Nations; Also known as the Gitga’at Nation and Gitga’at First Nation
Heiltsuk Nation
Central Coast, Bella Bella
Stage 4 [45]
Negotiating independently
Hesquiaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [20]

High Bar First Nation
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
Fraser Canyon/Cariboo
Not participating in treaty process [19]

Homalco Indian Band
Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council
Sunshine Coast
Stage 4 [9]

Hupacasath First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council but Negotiating independently Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [9][20]

Huu-ay-aht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 6 [10]
April 9, 2009 Negotiating with the Maa-nulth First Nations [20]

Iskut First Nation
Tahltan Nation
Stikine Country
Not participating in treaty process [46]

Kamloops Indian Band
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
Thompson Country
Not participating in treaty process [19]

Kanaka Bar Indian Band
Fraser Canyon Indian Administration
Fraser Canyon
Not participating in treaty process[47]

Katzie First Nation
Fraser Valley, Pitt Meadows
Stage 4 [48]
Negotiating independently
Kispiox Band Council
Skeena Country, Kispiox
Stage 4 [40]
Gitxsan Treaty Society

Haisla Nation
British Columbia Coast
Stage 4 [49]
Negotiating independently
Kitselas First Nation
Tsimshian First Nations
British Columbia Coast
Stage 4 [42]

Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation
Oweekeno-Kitasoo-Nuxalk Tribal Council
Bella Coola, Central Coast
Stage 4 [42]
Also part of the Tsimshian First Nations

Kitsumkalum First Nation
Skeena Country
Stage 4 [42]
Tsimshian First Nations

Klahoose First Nation
Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council
Sunshine Coast
Stage 4 [9]

Kluskus First Nation
Carrier Chilcotin Tribal Council
Not participating in treaty process [50]

K’ómoks (Comox) First Nation
Kwakiutl District Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [9]
in suspension [9]

Kwadacha First Nation
Kaska Nation
Cassiar Country
Stage 4 [39]
Negotiations are suspended until Canada resolves legal issues related to Yukon, BC boundaries.[39]

Kwakiutl First Nation
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [9]
in suspension [9]

Kwantlen First Nation
Stó:lō Tribal Council
Fraser Valley
Not participating in treaty process [21]

Kwaw-kwaw-a-pilt First Nation
Stó:lō Tribal Council
Fraser Valley
Not participating in treaty process [21]

Kwiakah First Nations
Hamatla Treaty Society
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [30]
In suspension[9]

Kwicksutaineuk-ah-kwa-mish First Nation
Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council
Vancouver Island/Queen Charlotte Strait
Not participating in treaty process [51]

Kwikwetlem First Nation
Sto:lo (unaffiliated) Fraser Valley, Coquitlam/Port Coquitlam
No Information INAC number – 560 [52]

Kyuquot/Cheklesahht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 6 [10]
April 9, 2009 Negotiating with the Maa-nulth First Nations [20]

Lake Babine Nation
Negotiating independently Omineca Country/Bulkley Country
Stage 4 [53]

Lake Cowichan First Nation
Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [33]

Lax-kw’alaams First Nation
Negotiating independently North Coast
Stage 2 [54]

Leq’a:mel First Nation
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley, Nicomen Island
Stage 4 [21]

Lheidli T’enneh Band
Negotiating independently Prince George
Stage 5 [55]
On March 30, 2007, the Lheidli T’enneh Band held a ratification vote on the Final Agreement. With a final count of 123 against and 111 in favour, the Lheidli T’enneh community did not ratify the Final Agreement.[55]

Liard First Nation
Kaska Tribal Council
Cassiar Country
Stage 2 [9]

Lil’wat Nation
Lillooet Tribal Council
Pemberton Valley
Not participating in treaty process [26]
aka the Lil’wat Nation or the Mount Currie Indian Band
Little Shuswap Indian Band
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
Shuswap Country, Chase
Not participating in treaty process [19]

Lower Kootenay First Nation
Ktunaxa Kinbasket Tribal Council
Stage 4 [36]

Lower Nicola First Nation
Nicola Tribal Association
Nicola Country
Not participating in treaty process[35]

Lower Post First Nation
Kaska Nation
Liard Country
Stage 4 (suspended) [39]
Canada does not classify the Lower Post First Nation as a band, but rather as one of eight reserves belonging to the Yukon-based Liard First Nation. Negotiations are suspended until Canada resolves legal issues related to Yukon, BC boundaries.[39]

Lower Similkameen Indian Band
Okanagan Nation Alliance
Similkameen Country
Not participating in treaty process [56]

Lyackson First Nation
Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [33]

Lytton First Nation
unaffiliated Fraser Canyon
Not participating in treaty process [23]

McLeod Lake Indian Band
Treaty 8
Northern Interior Treaty 8, Treaty ratified June, 2000 The McLeod Nation was originally left out of the Treaty 8 bill even though they live on its land. The McLeod Lake Indian Band Treaty No. 8 Adhesion and Settlement Agreement rectified this oversight.[57]

Malahat First Nation
Te’mexw Treaty Association
Vancouver Island
Douglas Treaties[2]
1850-54 Renegotiating in the BC Treaty Process, presently at Stage 4 [24]

Mamalilikulla-Qwe’Qwa’Sot’Em First Nation
Kwakiutl District Council
Vancouver Island
No Information INAC number – 629 [58]

Matsqui First Nation
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley, Matsqui
Not participating in treaty process [21]
One of four Sto:lo Nation members not in the treaty process
Metlakatla First Nation
Tsimshian First Nations
British Columbia Coast
Stage 4 [42]

Moricetown Indian Band
Office of the Wet’suwet’en
North Coast
Stage 4 [44]

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [20]

Musqueam Indian Band
Negotiating independently Fraser Valley, Vancouver
Stage 4 [9]

Nadleh Whut’en First Nation
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
Central Interior
Stage 4 [27]
Until 1990, it was referred to as the Fraser Lake Indian Band.
Nak’azdli Band
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
Central Interior
Stage 4 [27]

‘Namgis First Nation
Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council
Alert Bay, Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [9]

Nanoose First Nation
Te’mexw Treaty Association
Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island
Douglas Treaties[2]
1850-54 Renegotiating in the BC Treaty Process, presently at Stage 4 [24]

Nazko First Nation
The Interior
Negotiating independently Stage 4 [59]
Is a member of the Carrier-Chilcotin Tribal Council [50]

Nee-Tahi-Buhn Band
The Interior
No Information INAC number – 726 [60]

Neskonlith Indian Band
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
Shuswap Country
Not participating in treaty process [19]

Nicomen Indian Band
Fraser Canyon Indian Administration, Nicola Tribal Association
Thompson Country
Not participating in treaty process[35]

Nisga’a Tribal Council
Negotiated independently North Coast, Nass Country
Stage 6 [11]
May 11, 2000 Nisga’a Final Agreement

N’quatqua First Nation
Negotiating independently Bridge River Country
No Information INAC number – 556 [61]

Nooaitch Indian Band
Nicola Tribal Association
Nicola Country
Not participating in treaty process[35]

Nuchatlaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [20]

Nuxálk Nation
Oweekeno-Kitasoo-Nuxalk Tribal Council
Bella Coola, Central Coast
Not participating in treaty process[62]

Okanagan Indian Band
Okanagan Nation Alliance
Okanagan, Vernon
Not participating in treaty process [56]

Old Massett Village Council
Council of the Haida Nation
Haida Gwaii
Stage 2 [63]
In December 2009 a reconciliation protocol was signed outside of the BC Treaty Process between the BC government and the First Nations represented by the Haida Nation.[64] Along a number of economic issues being settled an agreement was reached to rename the Queen Charlotte Islands to the Haida Gwaii.[64]

Oregon Jack Creek Indian Band
Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council
Thompson Country
Not participating in treaty process [23]

Osoyoos Indian Band
Okanagan Nation Alliance
Not participating in treaty process [56]

Pacheedaht First Nation
Negotiating independently Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [9]
Not a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and define themselves differently
Sencot’en Alliance
Vancouver Island
Douglas Treaties [2]
1850-54 Fighting other First Nations over claims made in the BC Treaty process [65]

Pavilion Indian Band
Lillooet Tribal Council
Lillooet Country/Fraser Canyon
Not participating in treaty process [26]
Also known as Ts’kw’aylaxw First Nation
Penelakut First Nations
Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [33]

Penticton Indian Band
Okanagan Nation Alliance
Not participating in treaty process [56]

Peters Band
Sto:lo Nation unaffiliated Fraser Valley
No Information INAC number – 586 [66]

Popkum Band
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley
Stage 4 [21]

Prophet River Band
Treaty 8 Tribal Association
Peace River Country
Treaty 8, Treaty ratified [25]
June 21, 1899 Discussions with BC and Canada outside the treaty process to adjust Treaty 8.
Qayqayt First Nation
Negotiating independently Fraser Valley, New Westminster
Qayqayt are not officially involved in treaty negotiations [67]

Qualicum First Nation
Vancouver Island
No Information
Quatsino First Nation
Kwakiutl District Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [38]
Also affiliated with the Winalagalis Treaty Group

Red Bluff First Nation
Carrier-Chilcotin Tribal Council
Not participating in treaty process [50]

Saik’uz First Nation
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
The Interior
Stage 4 [27]

Samahquam First Nation
In-SHUCK-ch Nation/Lower Stl’atl’imx Tribal Council
Lower Lillooet River Valley
Stage 5 [9]

Saulteau First Nation
Treaty 8 Tribal Association
Peace River Country
Treaty 8, Treaty ratified [25]
June 21, 1899 Discussions with BC and Canada outside the treaty process to adjust Treaty 8.
Simpcw North Thompson Indian Band
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
Thompson Country
Not participating in treaty process [19]

Scowlitz First Nation
Stó:lō Tribal Council
Fraser Valley
Not participating in treaty process [21]

Seabird Island Band
Stó:lō Tribal Council
Fraser Valley
Not participating in treaty process [21]

Sechelt Indian Band
unaffiliatd Sunshine Coast
Stage 5 [68]
April 16, 1999 Negotiating independently; Negotiations have been on hold since October 1999, when the Sechelt requested a break in final agreement negotiations in order to consult with their community members.[68]

Semiahmoo First Nation
Sencot’en Alliance
Fraser Valley, White Rock
Douglas Treaties [2]
1852 Sencot’en Alliance; Fighting other First Nations over claims made in the BC Treaty process [65]

Seton Lake First Nation
Lillooet Tribal Council
Bridge River-Lillooet Country
Not participating in treaty process [26]
On November 4, 2008, The Province, Canada and the Seton Lake Indian Band celebrated the settlement of the remaining cut-off claims in British Columbia.
Shackan First Nation
Nicola Tribal Association
Nicola Country
Not participating in treaty process[35]

Shuswap Indian Band
Ktunaxa Kinbasket Tribal Council
Shuswap Country[36]
Stage 4 Also part of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council[19]

Sinixt Nation
Sinixt Nation West Kootenay
Not participating in treaty process
Siska Indian Band
Nicola Tribal Association
Fraser Canyon
Not participating in treaty process[35]

Skatin First Nation
In-SHUCK-ch Nation/Lower Stl’atl’imx Tribal Council
Lower Lillooet River Valley
Stage 5 [9]

Skawahlook First Nation
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley
Stage 4 [21]

Skeetchestn Indian Band
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
Thompson Country
Not participating in treaty process [19]

Skidegate Band Council
Council of the Haida Nation
Haida Gwaii
Stage 2 [63]
In December 2009 a reconciliation protocol was signed outside of the BC Treaty Process between the BC government and the First Nations represented by the Haida Nation.[64] Along a number of economic issues being settled an agreement was reached to rename the Queen Charlotte Islands to the Haida Gwaii.[64]

Skin Tyee First Nation
Omineca Country/Nechako Country
No Information INAC number – 729 [69]

Shxw’ow’hamel First Nation
Stó:lō Tribal Council
Fraser Valley
Not participating in treaty process [21]

Skowkale First Nation
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley
Stage 4 [21]

Skuppah First Nation
Fraser Canyon Indian Administration
Fraser Canyon
Not participating in treaty process[47]

Skwah First Nation
Fraser Valley
No information Not to be confused with Skway or Shxwhá:y Village which is also located near Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley.
Shxwhá:y Village
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley
Not participating in treaty process [21]
One of four Sto:lo Nation members not in the treaty process
Also known as the Skway First Nation. Not to be confused with Skwah which is also located near Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley.
Sliammon First Nation
British Columbia
Stage 5 [70]
December 6, 2003 [70]
Negotiating independently
Snuneymuxw First Nation
Vancouver Island, Nanaimo
Douglas Treaties[2]
1850-54 Negotiating independently; Renegotiating in the BC Treaty Process, presently at Stage 4 [71]

Soda Creek/Deep Creek Band
Northern Shuswap Tribal Council
Stage 4 [31]

Songhees First Nation
Vancouver Island
Douglas Treaties[2]
1850-54 Te’mexw Treaty Association; Renegotiating in the BC Treaty Process, presently at Stage 4 [24]

Soowahlie First Nation
Stó:lō Tribal Council
Fraser Valley
Not participating in treaty process [21]

Spallumcheen Indian Band
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
Not participating in treaty process [19]

Spuzzum Indian Band
Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council and Fraser Canyon Indian Administration
Fraser Canyon
Not participating in treaty process[47]

Squamish Nation
unaffiliated Howe Sound/Burrard Inlet
Stage 3 [72]
Negotiating independently
Squiala First Nation
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley
Not participating in treaty process [21]
One of four Sto:lo Nation members not in the treaty process
St. Mary’s Indian Band
Ktunaxa Kinbasket Tribal Council
Stage 4 [36]

Stellat’en First Nation
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
The Interior
Stage 4 [27]
Reserves 5 and 6 split from Nadleh Whut’en First Nation to make the Stellat’en First Nation.
Stone First Nation
Tsilhqot’in Tribal Council
Not participating in treaty process[22]

Sumas First Nation
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley, Abbotsford
Not participating in treaty process [21]
One of four Sto:lo Nation members not in the treaty process
Tahltan First Nation
Tahltan Nation
Stikine Country
Not participating in treaty process [46]

Takla Lake First Nation
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
The Interior
Stage 4 [27]

T’it’q’et First Nation
Lillooet Tribal Council
Lillooet Country
Not participating in treaty process [26]

T’sou-ke Nation
unaffiliated Vancouver Island
Douglas Treaties[2]
1850-54 Te’mexw Treaty Association; Renegotiating in the BC Treaty Process, presently at Stage 4 [24]

Tl’azt’en Nation
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
The Interior
Stage 4 [27]

Taku River Tlingit First Nation
Atlin Country
Stage 4 [32]
Northern Regional Negotiations Table

Tl’etinqox-t’in Government Office
Tsilhqot’in Tribal Council
Not participating in treaty process[22]

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [9][20]
Negotiating independently
Tlatlasikwala Nation
Kwakiutl District Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [38]
Also affiliated with the Winalagalis Treaty Group

Tlowitsis Tribe
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [73]
Negotiating independently
Tobacco Plains Indian Band
Ktunaxa Kinbasket Tribal Council
Stage 4 [36]

Toosey First Nation
Stage 4 [59]
Negotiating independently; Also known as the Tl’esqox First Nation
Toquaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 6 [10]
April 9, 2009 Negotiating with the Maa-nulth First Nations [20]

Sencot’en Alliance
Vancouver Island
Douglas Treaties [2]
1850-54 Sencot’en Alliance; Fighting other First Nations over claims made in the BC Treaty process [65]

Vancouver Island
Douglas Treaties [2]
1850-54 Sencot’en Alliance; Fighting other First Nations over claims made in the BC Treaty process [65]

Tsawataineuk First Nation
Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Not participating in treaty process [51]

Tsawwassen First Nation
Fraser Valley, Delta
Stage 6 [7]
April 3, 2009 Negotiated independently
Tsay Keh Dene Band
unaffiliated Northern Interior Stage 4 [74]
Negotiating independently
Tseshaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 4 [20]

Tseycum First Nation
Vancouver Island
Douglas Treaties[2]
1850-54 Signatory in the Douglas Treaties 1850-54[2]

Tsleil-Waututh First Nation
Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council
Fraser Valley, Vancouver
Stage 4 [75]
Negotiating independently; Also known as the Burrard Indian Band
Tzeachten First Nation
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley
Stage 4 [21]

Uchucklesaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 6 [10]
April 9, 2009 Negotiating with the Maa-nulth First Nations [20]

Ucluelet First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Vancouver Island
Stage 6 [10]
April 9, 2009 Negotiating with the Maa-nulth First Nations [20]

Ulkatcho First Nation
Carrier-Chilcotin Tribal Council
Not participating in treaty process [50]

Union Bar First Nation
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley
No Information [76]

Upper Nicola Indian Band
Nicola Tribal Association
Nicola Country
Not participating in treaty process[35]

Upper Similkameen Indian Band
Okanagan Nation Alliance
Nicola-Similkameen Country
Not participating in treaty process [56]
In 2001, the Upper Similkameen Indian Band (USIB) Cut-Off Claim Settlement Agreement was ratified by Canada, B.C. and the USIB.[56]

West Moberly First Nations
Peace River Country
Treaty 8, Treaty ratified [25]
June 21, 1899 Negotiating independently
Westbank First Nation
Okanagan Nation Alliance
Stage 4 [77]

Wet’suwet’en First Nation
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
The Interior
Stage 4 [27]
Formerly known as the Broman Lake Indian Band
Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
Not participating in treaty process [19]

Williams Lake Indian Band
Northern Shuswap Tribal Council
Stage 4 [31]
Also known as T’exelc, Sugarcane, The Cane or SCB
Wuikinuxv Nation
Negotiating independently Central Coast, Rivers Inlet
Stage 4 [78]
Affiliate of the Oweekeno-Kitasoo-Nuxalk Tribal Council. Formerly the Oweekeno Nation.
Xeni Gwet’in First Nation
Tsilhqot’in Tribal Council
Not participating in treaty process[22]
Under that BC Treaty Process, bands have received title to about five per cent of the land they have claimed plus cash. In 2007 the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation won a court ruling that gave them 50% of their claim.[16]

Yakweakwioose First Nation
Sto:lo Nation
Fraser Valley
Stage 4 [21]

Yale First Nation
Negotiating independently Fraser Canyon
Stage 6 [79]
February 5, 2010 Implementation halted, agreement not in full force and effect.
Yekooche First Nation
Negotiating independently Omineca Country
Stage 5 [80]

3.) List of First Nations Governments in British Columbia
This is a list of First Nations governments (also band governments) in the Canadian province of British Columbia. “First Nation” is a term that refers to the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. In the context used here, it refers only to band governments. For a list of peoples and ethnicities please see List of First Nations peoples in British Columbia (which includes extinct groups). For a list of Indian Reserves, see List of Indian reserves in British Columbia.
Government alternate names name of people(s) ethnicity language(s) Tribal Council affiliation(s) location(s)
Acho Dene Koe First Nation
Acho Dene Koe
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council & Dehcho First Nations

Ahousaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Ahousaht, Clayoquot Sound

Aitchelitz Band
Sto:lo Nation

Alexandria First Nation
Tsilhqot’in Tribal Council

Alexis Creek First Nation
Tsilhqot’in Tribal Council
Alexis Creek

Alkali Lake Indian Band
Alkali Lake First Nation Esketemc
Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in
Secwepemctsin, Tsilhqot’in
Unaffiliated Alkali Lake

Ashcroft Indian Band
Ashcroft First Nation Nlaka’pamux
Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council

Blueberry River First Nations

Boothroyd Indian Band

Boston Bar Indian Band
Boston Bar First Nation Nlaka’pamux
Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council
Boston Bar

Bridge River Indian Band
Xwisten First Nation St’at’imc
Lillooet Tribal Council

Burns Lake Indian Band

Cacli’p First Nation
Xaxli’p First Nation St’at’imc
Lillooet Tribal Council

Campbell River First Nation (Wei Wai Kum)
Wei Wai Kum
Laich-kwil-tach (Kwakwaka’wakw)
Lekwala Kwak’wala
Kwakiutl District Council
Campbell River

Canim Lake Band

Canoe Creek Band/Dog Creek Indian Band

We Wai Kai First Nation
Cape Mudge First Nation, Cape Mudge Indian Band Laich-kwil-tach (Kwakwaka’wakw)
Lekwala Kwak’wala
Kwakiutl District Council
Quadra Island

Carcross/Tagish First Nation
Tlingit, Tahltan
Tlingit, Tahltan

Cayoose Creek First Nation
Sekwelwas First Nation, Cayoose Creek Indian Band St’at’imc
Lillooet Tribal Council

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations

Chawathil First Nation
Sto:lo Nation

Cheam Indian Band
Sto:lo Nation

Chehalis Indian Band
Chehalis First Nation Sts’ailes

Chemainus First Nation
Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council

Cheslatta Indian Band
Cheslatta First Nation Cheslatta people
Carrier language
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
Cheslatta Lake

Coldwater Indian Band
Coldwater First Nation Nlaka’pamux
Nicola Tribal Association

Columbia Lake First Nation

Cook’s Ferry Indian Band
Cook’s Ferry First Nation Nlaka’pamux
Nicola Tribal Association
Spences Bridge

Cowichan Tribes

Da’naxda’xw Awaetlatla Nation
Port Hardy

Dease River First Nation

Ditidaht First Nation
non-member affiliate of Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Doig River First Nation
Doig River Indian Band
Douglas First Nation
Port Douglas First Nation Xa’xtsa
In-SHUCK-ch Nation
Port Douglas

Ehattesaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Fort Nelson First Nation
Fort Nelson

Gitsegukla Indian Band

Gitanyow First Nation

Gitxaala Nation

Glen Vowell Indian Band

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation
Gwa’sala, ‘Nak’waxda’xw (Nahwitti)
‘Nak̕wala Kwak’wala
Kwakiutl District Council

Gwawaenuk Tribe

Halfway River First Nation
Treaty 8 Tribal Association
Peace River Country

Hagwilget Village First Nation

Kitamaat First Nation

Halalt First Nation

Hartley Bay Indian Band

Heiltsuk Nation
Bella Bella

Hesquiaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

High Bar First Nation
High Bar Indian Band Llenlleney’ten
Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in
Secwepemc language, Tsilhqot’in language
Fraser Canyon north of Lillooet
Homalco Indian Band
Homalco First Nation Homalco
Mainland Comox
Comox language

Hupacasath First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Huu-ay-aht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Iskut First Nation
Iskut Indian Band Tahltan
Tahltan language
Iskut, British Columbia

Kanaka Bar Indian Band
Kanaka Bar First Nation Nlaka’pamux
Thompson language
Fraser Canyon Indian Administration
Kanaka Bar

Katzie First Nation
Katzie Indian Band Halqemeylem
Pitt Meadows, Langley, Barnston Island

Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation

Kitselas First Nation

Kitsumkalum First Nation

Klahoose First Nation
Klahoose Indian Band Clo-oose

K’ómoks (Comox) First Nation
Comox Indian Band (Island Comox) K’ómoks
Laich-kwil-tach (Kwakwaka’wakw)-Comox
Lekwala Kwak’wala
Kwakiutl District Council
Campbell River

Kwadacha Band
Kwadacha First Nation
Kwakiutl First Nation
Kwagyulh, Kwagyuilh, Port Hardy Band Kwagyulh
unaffiliated Port Hardy

Kwantlen First Nation
Fraser River Salish
Fort Langley

Kwaw-kwaw-a-pilt First Nation
Sto:lo Nation

Kwiakah First Nations
Laich-kwil-tach (Kwakwaka’wakw)
Lekwala Kwak’wala

Kwicksutaineuk/Ah-Kwa-Mish First Nation
Kwicksutaineuk, Ah-Kwa-Mish

Kwikwetlem First Nation
Kway-qui-tlam First Nation
Coquitlam Indian Band Kwikwetlem

Kyuquot/Cheklesahht First Nation
Kyuquot, Cheklesahht
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Kyuquot Sound

Lakahahmen First Nation
Sto:lo Nation
Nicomen Island, Deroche

Lake Babine Nation
Babine First Nation, Babine Indian Band Wet’suwet’en

Lake Cowichan First Nation

Lax-kw’alaams First Nation

Lheidli-T’enneh Band
Carrier language
Prince George

Liard First Nation
Liard River

Lil’wat First Nation
Lil’wat Nation, Mount Currie Indian Band Lower St’at’imc
Lillooet Tribal Council
Mount Currie

Little Shuswap Indian Band

Lower Kootenay First Nation

Lower Nicola First Nation

Lower Post First Nation
Lower Post

Lower Similkameen Indian Band

Lyackson First Nation

Lytton First Nation
Lytton Band Camchin’mux Nlaka’pamux
Unaffiliated Lytton

McLeod Lake Indian Band

Mamalilikulla-Qwe’Qwa’Sot’Em Band
Mamalilikulla-Qwe’Qwa’Sot’Em First Nation Mamalilikulla, Qwe’Qwa’Sot’Em
Kwakiutl District Council

Matsqui First Nation
Sto:lo Nation

Metlakatla First Nation

Moricetown Indian Band

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations
Mowachaht, Muchalaht
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Gold River-Tahsis

Musqueam Indian Band
Musqueam Nation Xwméthkwyiem Hunquminum’

‘Namgis First Nation
Nimpkish Indian Band ‘Namgis
Kwakiutl District Council

Nadleh Whut’en First Nation

Nak’azdli Band

Nanoose First Nation

Nazko First Nation

Nee-Tahi-Buhn Band

Nicomen Indian Band
Nicomen First Nation Nlaka’pamux
Fraser Canyon Indian Administration, Nicola Tribal Association
near Lytton

N’quatqua Band
N’quatqua First Nation, Nequatque, N’quat’qua St’at’imc

Nooaitch Indian Band
Nooaitch First Nation Nlaka’pamux
Nicola Tribal Association

Nuchatlaht First Nations
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Nuxálk Nation
Bella Coola First Nation Nuxálk
Nuxálk language
Bella Coola

Okanagan Indian Band

Old Massett Village Council

Oregon Jack Creek Indian Band
Oregon Jack First Nation Nlaka’pamux
Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council

Osoyoos Indian Band
Osoyoos First Nation Syilx

Pacheedaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Pavilion Indian Band
Ts’kw’aylaxw First Nation St’at’imc-Secwepemc
Lillooet Tribal Council

Penelakut First Nations

Penticton Indian Band
Okanagan Nation Alliance

Peters Band

Popkum Band
Sto:lo Nation

Prophet River Band

Qualicum First Nation

Qayqayt First Nation

Quatsino First Nation
G̱uc̓ala (G̱ut̕sala) Kwak’wala
Kwakiutl District Council

Red Bluff First Nation

Saik’uz First Nation

Samahquam First Nation
Lower Lillooet River

Saulteau First Nation

Scowlitz First Nation
Sto:lo Nation
Harrison Mills

Seabird Island Band
Sto:lo Nation

Sechelt Indian Band
Sechelt First Nation Shishalh

Semiahmoo First Nation
Semiahmoo Indian Band Straits Salish
White Rock

Seton Lake First Nation
Seton Band Tslalalh’mc
Lillooet Tribal Council

Shackan Indian Band
Shackan First Nation Sxe’xn’x
Lower Nicola

Siska Indian Band
Siska First Nation Nlaka’pamux
Nicola Tribal Association

Skatin First Nation
Skookumchuck Hot Springs Indian Band St’at’imc
Skookumchuck Hot Springs

Skin Tyee Band

Skawahlook First Nation

Skeetchestn Indian Band

Skidegate Band Council

Skway First Nation
Sto:lo Nation

Shxw’ow’hamel First Nation
Skowkamel, Ohamil Sto:lo
Sto:lo Nation

Skawahlook First Nation
Sto:lo Nation

Skowkale First Nation
Sto:lo Nation

Skuppah Indian Band
Skuppah First Nation Nlaka’pamux
Fraser Canyon Indian Administration

Skwah First Nation
Skwah Indian Band (also “Skway”) Sto:lo
Sto:lo Nation

Sliammon First Nation
Mainland Comox
Comox language

Soda Creek/Deep Creek Band

Songhees First Nation

Soowahlie First Nation
Sto:lo Nation

Spuzzum Indian Band
Spuzzum First Nation Nlaka’pamux
Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council, Fraser Canyon Indian Administration

Squamish Nation
Squamish First Nation, Squamish Indian Band Squamish people
Squamish language
Squamish, North Vancouver

Squiala First Nation
Sto:lo Nation

Stellat’en First Nation

Stone Indian Band
Stone First Nation Yunesit’in
Chilcotin language

St. Mary’s Indian Band

Sumas First Nation
Sto:lo Nation

Tahltan Indian Band
Tahltan Nation Tahltan
Tahltan language
Telegraph Creek

Takla Lake First Nation

T’it’q’et First Nation
T’it’kt First Nation, Lillooet Indian Band Lower St’at’imc
Lillooet Tribal Council

Taku River Tlingit First Nation
Tlingit language

Tl’azt’en Nation

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Tlatlasikwala Nation
Port Hardy

Tlowitsis Nation

Tobacco Plains Indian Band

Toosey First Nation

Toquaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Tsawataineuk Indian Band
Tsawataineuk First Nation Tsawataineuk

Tsawwassen Indian Band
Tsawwassen First Nation Straits Salish

Tsay Keh Dene Band
Tsay Keh Dene Nation Dene
Dene language

Tseshaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Port Alberni

Tseycum First Nation

Tsi Del Del First Nation
Tsi Del Del
Chilcotin language

Tsleil-Waututh First Nation
Burrard Band Coast Salish peoples
Skwxwu7mesh snichim
North Vancouver

Tzeachten First Nation
Sto:lo Nation

Uchucklesaht First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Ucluelet First Nation
Nuu-chah-nulth language
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Ulkatcho First Nation

Union Bar First Nation
Union Bar Indian Band Fraser River Salish

Upper Nicola Indian Band
Syilx, Scw’exmx
Syilx’tsn, Nlaka’pamuxtsin
Okanagan Nation Alliance, Nicola Tribal Association

Upper Similkameen Indian Band

West Moberly First Nations

Westbank First Nation
Okanagan Nation Alliance

Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Williams Lake Indian Band

Wuikinuxv First Nation
Owekeeno First Nation, Rivers Inlet Band Wuikinuxv
Rivers Inlet

Yakweakwioose First Nation
Sto:lo Nation

Yale First Nation
Yale Band Halqemeylem

Yekooche First Nation
Stuart-Trembleur Band Dakelh
Carrier language
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
Stuart Lake

4.) Clarity and Confusion? The New Jurisprudence of Aboriginal Title
by Tom Flanagan, the Fraser Institute, 2015
Executive Summary:

The Supreme Court of Canada has revolutionized the jurisprudence of aboriginal rights and title. Various decisions have overturned the doctrine of adverse occupancy, which at one time had been thought to have extinguished aboriginal title in British Columbia (Delgamukkw); created a governmental duty to consult First Nations regarding use of land to which they have a claim of aboriginal rights or title (Haida Nation); approved a specific claim to aboriginal title (Tsilhqot’in); and extended the duty of consultation to

First Nations whose aboriginal title was previously thought to have been extinguished by
Treaty (Mikisew). These decisions have created a new range of property rights for First Nations, which they should be able to use to advance their prosperity.

However, the new jurisprudence has also set up many barriers to voluntary market transactions by multiplying the number of owners and claimants, and laying down opaque und unpredictable rules for making decisions about lands that are subject to claims of aboriginal title or to treaty rights such as hunting and fishing.

According to the Coase Theorem, it is possible to reach economically efficient outcomes from any initial assignment of property rights as long as low transaction costs make voluntary exchanges possible. But the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence has taken no account of transaction costs when it has created new aboriginal property rights.

Complicated legal tests and decision-making procedures increase transaction costs by extending the number of participants and the time taken to reach decisions. As transaction costs rise, essential economic projects such as pipelines may be abandoned because they are no longer profitable, as happened to the Mackenzie Valley pipeline proposal.

Aboriginal peoples are thus in the paradoxical position of receiving new property rights that they will find difficult to use. This is an unfortunate situation both for them and for the wider Canadian economy. The ball is in the courts’ court.

It is recommended that the courts try to resolve this emerging impasse by taking judicial notice of basic economic principles in future decisions. In the Secession Reference, the Supreme Court referred to “underlying principles animating the whole of the Constitution, including the principles of federalism, democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law, and respect for minorities”.

Economic efficiency is arguably as important to the welfare of Canadians as these other principles. If the courts cannot take account of it in its aboriginal jurisprudence, governments may have to resort to legal and even constitutional solutions that would be
politically difficult to enact.

Over the last 40 years, the Supreme Court of Canada has gradually elaborated a new jurisprudence of aboriginal title, parallel to similar developments in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States that have given a common law foundation to indigenous land rights (McHugh, 2011).

Law professor Brian Slattery, whose writings have often been cited as authoritative by the Court, calls the new jurisprudence a “remapping” (Slattery, 2000: 196). By whatever name it is known, it constitutes a major change in the law because it has effectively overturned St. Catherines Milling, which had guided Canadian law since 1888 ([1888] UKPC 70).

The positive side of the new jurisprudence is the recognition that First Nations did possess, and can continue to possess, ownership of land recognizable in common law. This is an important step forward in extending property rights to dispossessed people.

But there is also a negative side—lack of clarity about how aboriginal rights and title can fit into Canada’s market economy. Without the clarity required to facilitate economic transactions, aboriginal title will not fulfil its promise to First Nations or to other Canadians.

This paper makes no criticism of the substance of the new jurisprudence of aboriginal title; it is the mandate of the Supreme Court to explain and develop the law. But I do offer commentary about the likely economic consequences of the new jurisprudence.

From an economic point of view, it is immaterial who holds property rights as long as voluntary transactions are possible to achieve efficient outcomes. But the new jurisprudence has set up many barriers to voluntary transactions by multiplying the number of owners, and laying down opaque und unpredictable rules for making decisions about lands that are subject to claims of aboriginal title.

Law creates the framework for the economy; and if judicial decisions appear to have a negative impact, judges as well as other decision-makers in the political system should examine their options for achieving valid legal objectives without imposing deadweight losses upon the Canadian economy.

Historical Background

I cannot address here the question of aboriginal title in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, where France was the first European sovereign. The story of aboriginal title in Ontario and the western provinces and northern territories begins with the Royal Proclamation of 1763, issued to organize the territories acquired by Britain from France as a result of the Seven Years War.

These included what are now southern Quebec and Ontario as well as the American Midwest and Louisiana Purchase. In keeping with the prevailing economic views of the eighteenth century, the Proclamation was a mercantilist document, designed to confine
American colonists to the Atlantic seaboard and keep them integrated into the imperial trading system (Slattery, 1979: 191).

That meant reserving for the native population the interior of North America, where white men would go only to conduct the fur trade. At the same time, the British government hoped to regulate and standardize the sale of Indian lands, which had been purchased or otherwise acquired by the colonists in many different ways.

The Proclamation declared the lands west of the Appalachians to be “Hunting Grounds” for “the several Nations or Tribes of Indians, with whom we are connected, and who live under Our Protection”. The Indians were not to “be molested or disturbed in the Possession of such Parts of Our Dominions and Territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are reserved to them”.

Colonial governors were enjoined from issuing survey warrants or land patents in the Indian territories. Any white men living in Indian country were called upon “forthwith to remove themselves”. Because “great Frauds and Abuses have been committed in purchasing Lands of the Indians, the proclamation forbade any further purchases by private persons.”

However, “if, at any Time, any of the said Indians should be inclined to dispose of the said lands, the same shall be purchased only for Us, in Our Name, at some public Meeting or Assembly of the said Indians to be held for that Purpose by the Governor or Commander in Chief of Our Colonies respectively, within which they shall lie” (printed in Slattery, 1979: 366–368).

Behind the Proclamation were certain presumptions (Flanagan, 2000:121–122):

• Use of terms such as “Possession” and “Lands of the Indians” recognized native ownership.

• That ownership was not in fee simple. It was connected with traditional use of the land (“Hunting Grounds”) and could be surrendered only to an agent of the Crown.

• It was a collective ownership that could only be relinquished at a “public Meeting”. The Proclamation did not mention ownership in severalty, even though family ownership of agricultural land was part of the Indian cultures of the eastern United States and Canada.

• Indians were subject to British sovereignty. How else could the Crown have laid down rules regarding their lands without consulting the inhabitants?

During the course of the American Revolution, many refugees entered Canada. As part of resettlement policy, colonial authorities started as early as 1781 to purchase Indian lands on the north shore of the Great Lakes. These were not full-fledged treaties establishing a comprehensive relationship with continuing obligations; they were more like real-estate conveyances.

The first comprehensive treaties were the Robinson Huron and Superior Treaties of 1850, which contained an explicit surrender formula: “the said Chiefs and Principal men, on behalf of their respective Tribes or Bands, do hereby fully, freely, and voluntarily surrender, cede, grant, and convey unto Her Majesty, her heirs and successors for ever, all their right, title, and interest to, and in the whole of, the territory above described, save and except the reservations set forth in the schedule hereunto annexed” (Morris, 1979: 305).

The formula recognized that the Indians owned something that they could sell to the Crown. Similar language was incorporated into the eleven Numbered Treaties, by which the Crown acquired the Indian title throughout the three Prairie Provinces, northern Ontario, and the Mackenzie Valley of the Northwest Territories. Even as this land-acquisition process was under way, litigation arising from Treaty 3 in northern Ontario led to the St. Catherines Milling decision.

In a dispute between Ontario and Canada over who should control the lands acquired by treaty, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council described the nature of Indian title in these famous words: It was suggested in the course of the argument for the Dominion, that inasmuch as the proclamation recites that the territories thereby reserved for Indians had never “been ceded to or purchased by” the Crown, the entire property of the land remained with them.

That inference is, however, at variance with the terms of the [Proclamation], which shew that the tenure of the Indians was a personal and usufructuary right, dependent upon the good will of the Sovereign.

The lands reserved are expressly stated to be “parts of our dominions and territories”; and it is declared to be the will and pleasure of the sovereign that, “for the present”, they shall be reserved for the use of the Indians, as their hunting grounds, under his protection and dominion. ([1888] UKPC 70: 5-6).

The elucidation was less than successful. Calling the Indian title a “personal” right seemed to suggest it was not a property right, yet the Crown for a century had been purchasing “Indian title”. “Usufruct” was also not a very helpful concept. Somewhat like a life estate in English law, a usufruct in Roman law was a right to receive the benefit of land during one’s lifetime, but without the right to sell it or leave it to heirs.

Again, that did not accurately describe Canadian practice in dealing with Indians. No one had ever asserted that their rights, whatever they were, ended with the death of individuals; and ever since 1781 the Crown had always purchased these rights before opening lands to settlement.

One point, however, was clear: the Crown was deemed to hold the underlying title to Indian lands and could dispose of them at “the will and pleasure of the sovereign”. Purchase of the Indian title was a benevolent policy according to “the good will of the Sovereign”, but in essence the Crown could do as it chose.

Fatefully, St. Catherines Milling seemed to legitimize the policy followed in British Columbia of acquiring Indian lands without treaty or purchase. This had begun with the integrationist vision of Governor James Douglas, who set aside small reserves for Indians while also granting them the right to vote and to pre-empt public land.

After 1864, subsequent governments continued the policy of unilaterally assigning small reserves but withdrew the other rights. After British Columbia entered Confederation in
1871, the Dominion government enlarged some of the reserves but did not insist on following the treaty policy that it had pursued elsewhere (Tennant, 1990).

To the extent there was a legal rationale for this unilateral approach, it was based on a theory of implicit extinguishment of aboriginal title through adverse occupancy, as later articulated by Justice Judson in Calder: “In my opinion, in the present case, the sovereign authority elected to exercise complete dominion over the lands in question, adverse to any right of occupancy which the Nishga Tribe might have had, when, by legislation, it opened up such lands for settlement, subject to the reserves of land set aside for Indian occupation” ([1973] S.C.R. 313: 344).

Whether through treaty in Ontario and the Prairie Provinces or through adverse occupancy in British Columbia, the First Nations lost ownership of land. The land reserves set aside for their use and benefit were owned by the federal Crown under the Indian Act and under § 91(24) of the British North America Act, 1867.

Individual ownership in fee simple was not allowed on Indian reserves, only the diminished property rights of customary holdings, certificates of possession, and leasing (Flanagan, Alcantara, and Le Dressay, 2011).

These arrangements protected the reserves against being alienated to outsiders, but also deprived those living on reserve of the benefits of ownership. First Nations became peoples without property. In modern times, there has been a counter-movement towards recognition of aboriginal ownership.

Contemporary agreements in the northern territories and in British Columbia recognize collective aboriginal ownership of settlement lands; they are not reserves owned by the Crown under the Indian Act. They also provide for creating individual ownership in fee simple at the discretion of the First Nation government.

And in 2011/12, the federal government seemed on the verge of introducing into Parliament a First Nations Property Ownership Act that would have allowed both collective and individual ownership on existing Indian reserves, again at the discretion of First Nation governments (Curry, 2011). That bill, however, was never introduced, perhaps because of opposition from the Idle No More movement.

In spite of these positive steps toward recognition of ownership rights, the glaring anomaly of British Columbia remains—almost two hundred First Nations whose aboriginal title was taken without compensation, negotiation, or consultation. Efforts to redress that injustice have proceeded in Canada’s courts ever since the Calder case of the early 1970s.

They have been successful inasmuch as the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the continued existence of aboriginal title in Delgamuukw (1997) and made a specific declaration of aboriginal land title in Tsilhqot’in Nation (2014).

But the Court’s jurisprudence of aboriginal rights and title is also creating new problems through lack of clarity—overturning precedents, deferring tough questions to further rounds of litigation, avoiding bright-line rules in favour of vague principles, enlarging the number of decision-makers in land matters, and generally increasing transaction costs.

Before investigating these developments further, let us take a brief look at the economic theory of property rights, which will serve as the backdrop for evaluation of the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence.

Property Rights
To own property means to possess a bundle of rights over the use of that property. Major “sticks in the bundle” include the right to control the use of the property, including selling or giving it to others; to receive the benefit of the property; and to exclude others from using or enjoying it (Epstein, 2008: 20).

In Canadian law, ownership in fee simple includes all of the above, though subject to legal regulation; but of course these rights can also be separated in a variety of ways. A life estate includes enjoyment of the benefits of property but not the right to convey it to others.

Ownership of equity shares in a corporation entitles one to certain benefits, but not to control the corporation, except as shareholders voting to elect a board of directors. We conventionally think of property rights as rights to control and enjoy material things such as land and buildings, as well as immaterial things such as patents and copyrights; but property rights are really restraints on the conduct of other people.

Ownership of land means that, if necessary, the state will eject and punish trespassers;
ownership of copyright means that, if necessary, the state will exact compensation from those who republish an author’s work without license. Property can be owned by groups as well as individuals.

I can own a house by myself; my wife and I can own a house together; a group of investors can form a partnership to own a rental property; or a corporation may own a large number of properties. The state can also own property, as occurs with Crown lands and Crown corporations. In contrast to all these forms of true property is common property, or a commons, over which rights of ownership are not exercised by any person or group (Eggertson, 2003: 75).

Much of the earth’s land was once a commons, but today almost all of it is owned by some person or organization. However, the high seas are still a true commons, owned by no one. States create bodies of international law to regulate behaviour on the high seas, but that is not the same as ownership.

The modern economic theory of property rights focuses on transaction costs in the context of scarcity. If good agricultural land were infinitely available, a farmer would have no transaction costs to protect his land and crop. He could simply plant part of the commons and harvest his crop without worrying about security.

But if land is scarce, others may interfere with his use of the land, destroying or stealing his crop, leading him to invest in fences, guards, and other security measures. At a certain point, it becomes cheaper for the society to create property rights that are enforced by the collectivity, rather than leaving it to the individual.

In the technical language of Harold Demsetz, property rights develop “to internalize externalities when the gains of internalization become larger than the cost of internalization” (Demsetz, 1968: 347–348). From an economic point of view, property rights are a question of costs and benefits in specific circumstances, not of natural rights always and everywhere.

As Hayek taught us, economics is all about the efficient use of information (Hayek, 1945). Property rights contribute to efficiency by bringing information and incentives together.

If property rights are robust, owners, who are closest to the property and thus better placed to have essential information about its most productive use, also gain the benefits while bearing the risks of their decisions. We would expect this to be more efficient on average than decisions made by third parties without a direct stake in the outcome.

A large international literature shows the importance of property rights in encouraging economic growth and a high standard of living (Gwartney, Lawson, and Hall, 2012: 23–24; Fukuyama, 2011: 468-475; Acemoglu and Robinson, 2012).

This is also true for First Nations in the United States (Anderson and Lueck, 1992) as well as Canada, where Flanagan and Beauregard (2013) found that, even after controlling for half a dozen other variables, First Nations with a higher proportion of certificates of possession (CPs) on their reserve land tended to have a higher Community Well-being Index.

The effect was particularly marked with respect to quality of housing—logical, because houses are built on land. The certificate of possession is a weaker property right than ownership in fee simple, but it is the best available under the Indian Act to residents of Indian reserves, so it is not surprising that communities making more use of CPs do better overall.

Nobel Prize winner Ronald Coase drew the attention of economists to the importance of transaction costs and the clear definition of property rights (Coase, 1960). In this view, what are often called externalities are actually the result of imperfectly specified property rights (Anderson, 2004).

My neighbour’s ownership rights allow him to keep a dog, but my ownership rights do not guarantee a right to any particular degree of silence. Without a property right to trade, it is hard for me to bargain with my neighbour about his dog’s irritating barking; so instead of bargaining I may have to result to heavy-handed, and probably ineffectual, noise by-law enforcement. But resort to the state is not inevitable, according to this line of thought; it arises from the incomplete specification of property rights, which makes voluntary exchange difficult.

Those who have amplified Coase’s article into the so-called Coase theorem argue that the initial endowment of property rights can affect the distribution of wealth and income but is neutral towards economic efficiency as long as transaction costs do not impede exchange (Simmons, 2011: 138–139).

In a world of zero transaction costs, owners would engage in mutually beneficial exchanges to achieve the most efficient use of resources. Real-world transaction costs, of course, will never be zero, but economic theory suggests that policy-makers should seek to minimize them if they wish to promote economic efficiency.

However, the Supreme Court’s new jurisprudence has multiplied transaction costs in the course of recognizing aboriginal title to land and resources.

The recognition of aboriginal title is in itself a good thing, because it addresses and partially redresses the confiscation of native property rights.

But it has also increased transaction costs by creating uncertainty over ownership, multiplying the number of decision-makers, and extending the complexity and duration of decision-making processes. Recognition of aboriginal title is potentially of enormous economic benefit to First Nations, but the value is reduced to the extent that transaction costs impede putting that title to work.

Supreme Court Decisions

The Supreme Court’s 1973 Calder decision was the starting point of the new jurisprudence ([1973] S.C.R. 313). Calder concerned the claim of the Nisga’a people for recognition of aboriginal title. All members of the Court agreed that the Nisga’a had possessed aboriginal title before British sovereignty, that is, had actually owned the land on which they lived. Three of seven justices also agreed that Nisga’a aboriginal title still existed, that it had not been extinguished by British Columbia’s course of dealing with native people.

In a strict legal sense, the Nisga’a lost the Calder case, but the discussion of aboriginal title had a huge political impact. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said: “Perhaps you have more legal rights than I thought you had when we did the White Paper” (Allen, 2013: 19), and his Liberal government established the so-called comprehensive claims process for negotiating modern-day treaties.

That led in time to land-claims agreements with Indian and Inuit communities in Labrador, northern Quebec, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon, as well as the Nisga’a in British Columbia. Unlike nineteenth-century treaties, these agreements are highly detailed documents, hundreds or even thousands of pages in length.

They create considerable clarity about who has surface and subsurface ownership, as well as fishing, hunting, and other harvesting rights. They also set up processes for ongoing consultation and settling disputes. They recognized aboriginal title and gave it a legal shape that facilitated transactions within Canada’s market economy.

Canada also gave constitutional recognition to aboriginal rights, presumably including aboriginal title, in Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982: “The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed”. The inclusion, however, was primarily a political step undertaken to get aboriginal support for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other measures included in the Constitution Act. There was little agreement, or even serious discussion, about what the words of Section 35 might mean. It was left to the courts to put flesh on this legal skeleton.

An important step was the Supreme Court’s 1990 Sparrow decision, which concerned, not ownership of land as such, but the right to fish for salmon in British Columbia ([1990] 1 S.C.R. 1075). The Court held that there was still an existing aboriginal right to fish for food and for related social and ceremonial activities that had not been extinguished by regulation.

The “honour of the Crown”—a phrase destined to assume ever greater importance—meant that extinguishment of an aboriginal right would have had to be explicitly stated in legislation; it could not occur as an implicit consequence of regulation. And now that the right had been given constitutional status by § 35, regulation would have to be justifiable, that is, demonstrably necessary in the eyes of impartial third parties (judges), not merely imposed by the fiat of administrators. The Court laid down a multi-stage process for determining when regulation would be justifiable, rather similar to its test for determining when abridgment of Charter rights was justifiable.

But in a pattern that would later often recur, the Court did not apply the test itself; it called for a new trial to determine whether the regulation on the length of drift nets used in the aboriginal food fishery was really necessary.

One can see many similarities in the Court’s 1997 Delgamuukw decision, in which the issue was ownership of land (aboriginal title) rather than the exercise of specific aboriginal rights such as hunting and fishing (3 S.C.R. 1010).

The court defined aboriginal title as a burden on the Crown’s underlying title, which had crystallized in 1846 when Britain assumed sovereignty over what is now British Columbia. The provincial Crown’s control over the use of land for the last century had not extinguished aboriginal title, because it could only be extinguished by an explicit action of the sovereign power (now the Parliament of Canada).

Thus, aboriginal title still existed in British Columbia. But the Court did not grant the petition of the Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en Nations to recognize their specific aboriginal title; as in Sparrow, that would have to be determined in another trial where the proper historical facts could be adduced.

Gitksan Chief Herb George said in frustration: “Twenty-four years working on Delgamuukw, and when I go home, nothing has changed”. Prominent lawyer and provincial civil servant Mel Smith observed that the decision “undermined everything but changed nothing” (Flanagan, 2000: 127, 132).

In its 2005 Haida Nation decision ([2004] 3 S.C.R. 511), the Court elaborated upon the concept of consultation, which had been more briefly mentioned in Delgamuukw. The Court held that the honour of the Crown required government to consult with a First Nation before taking or permitting action that might affect aboriginal rights or title.

The basic idea is certainly plausible. It does seem dishonourable for government to chip away at the value of land by allowing, say, forestry and mining projects without consulting the people whose claim would be affected. However, the “spectrum” approach to consultation propounded by the Court in Haida Nation is unpredictable.

It requires authorities to gauge the level of consultation required in light of the plausibility of the claim, the degree and type of impact, and many related factors, so that it becomes very difficult to say in advance what level of consultation is adequate.

The next year, Mikisew Cree extended the Court’s new consultation framework beyond lands subject to claim of aboriginal title to lands already surrendered by treaty. In Mikisew ([2005] 3 S.C.R. 388, 2005 SCC 69), the federal Department of the Environment had wished to build a winter road across an Indian reserve in northern Alberta.

When the First Nation objected, the Department announced without further consultation that it would reroute the road to go around the edge of the reserve. But the Mikisew people were still not happy because of the impact the road might have on wildlife harvesting off the reserve.

According to Treaty 8, they had the right to hunt, fish, and trap on land surrendered to the Crown except on “such tracts as may be required or taken up from time to time for settlement, mining, lumbering, trading or other purposes” (Canada, 1899).

The issue was of great practical importance, because similar provisions exist in many other treaties. According to the Court, the honour of the Crown required government to consult with a First Nation before exercising its option to “take up” land for other purposes, because hunting and trapping were existing treaty rights protected by § 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

In effect, this decision reversed the century-old presumption that governments could make unilateral decisions about the use of Crown land previously acquired through land-surrender treaties.

The most recent major decision is Tsilhqot’in Nation (2014 SCC 44), in which for the first time the Court recognized a First Nation’s aboriginal title to a specific tract of land in British Columbia—about 1,700 square kilometres, part of the larger Tsilhqot’in “traditional territory”. In a sense, this is progress, but it shows the limits of the judicial process.

There are about 200 First Nations in British Columbia, most of whom have some sort of land claim based on unextinguished aboriginal title.

The Court’s methodology for recognizing aboriginal title requires examination of detailed historical evidence of land use before, during, and after the crucial year of 1846, when Britain assumed sovereignty over British Columbia.

At this rate, it will take decades, if not centuries, of further litigation before certainty over ownership can be achieved in the province. Moreover, even if all claims could be settled, the Court’s theory of aboriginal title creates many uncertainties, as will be shown in the next section.

Clarity and Confusion
In each case, the Court’s decisions have tended to increase rather than reduce complexity. They have overturned pre-existing administrative practices, invited further litigation, multiplied the number of decision-makers, and failed to lay down clear guidelines for resolving disputes arising under the new jurisprudence. Instead of bright lines of clear authority, the court is creating shadowy and overlapping fields of jurisdiction.

The Honour of the Crown
The phrase “honour of the Crown” runs like a red thread though the Supreme Court’s decisions on aboriginal rights and title. It has an older history in British law, but its use in the context of aboriginal rights is a relatively new invention. It first started to take on major importance in the Badger decision ([1996] 1 S.C.R. 771), where Justice Cory wrote:

The honour of the Crown is always at stake in its dealing with Indian people. Interpretations of treaties and statutory provisions which have an impact upon treaty or aboriginal rights must be approached in a manner which maintains the integrity of the Crown. It is always assumed that the Crown intends to fulfil its promises. No appearance of “sharp dealing” will be sanctioned. (¶ 41)

Over the next ten years, the honour of the Crown assumed ever greater significance. Here are some excerpts from Chief Justice McLachlin’s majority opinion in Haida Nation ([2004] 3 S.C.R. 511):

The government’s duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples and accommodate their interests is grounded in the honour of the Crown. The honour of the Crown is always at stake in its dealings with Aboriginal peoples … It is not a mere incantation, but rather a core precept that finds its application in concrete practices…. (¶ 16)

The historical roots of the principle of the honour of the Crown suggest that it must be understood generously in order to reflect the underlying realities from which it stems. In all its dealings with Aboriginal peoples, from the assertion of sovereignty to the resolution of claims and the implementation of treaties, the Crown must act honourably …. (¶ 17)

The honour of the Crown gives rise to different duties in different circumstances. Where the Crown has assumed discretionary control over specific Aboriginal interests, the honour of the Crown gives rise to a fiduciary duty …. (¶ 18)

The honour of the Crown also infuses the processes of treaty making and treaty interpretation. In making and applying treaties, the Crown must act with honour and integrity, avoiding even the appearance of “sharp dealing” …. (¶ 19)

Where treaties remain to be concluded, the honour of the Crown requires negotiations leading to a just settlement of Aboriginal claims …It is a corollary of § 35 that the Crown act honourably in defining the rights it guarantees and in reconciling them with other rights and interests. (¶ 20)

Honourable negotiation implies a duty to consult with Aboriginal claimants and conclude an honourable agreement reflecting the claimants’ inherent rights. (¶ 26)

The Crown, acting honourably, cannot cavalierly run roughshod over Aboriginal interests where claims affecting these interests are being seriously pursued in the process of treaty negotiation and proof. (¶ 27)

As expounded here by Chief Justice McLachlin, the honour of the Crown is a master principle governing all aspects of the dealings between Canada and aboriginal people. It applies to consultation before treaties, the negotiation of treaties, the interpretation of treaties, and the administration of Indian assets, such as land reserves, set aside by treaties.

It is common ground that the representatives of the Crown should not lie and cheat in negotiating treaties, and that they should keep solemn promises made in treaties. But the implications of the honour of the Crown, as expounded by the Supreme
Court, go far beyond such obvious conclusions.

An example is the Supreme Court’s decision in the Manitoba Metis Federation case ([2013] 1 S.C.R. 623), which involved the distribution of 1.4 million acres of land to “the children of the Half-breed heads of families” under § 31 of the Manitoba Act, 1870, plus a number of other issues related to lands claimed by the early Metis residents of Manitoba.

Even though it had not been argued at trial or appeal, the majority of the Court found that the honour of the Crown required the government to act with diligence in fulfilling the provisions of § 31, because it was a promise with constitutional status, made to an aboriginal people.

The Court held further that the government’s diligence was unsatisfactory because it had taken 11 years to distribute the 1.4 million acres to approximately 6,000 Metis children. The Court did not find an intent to swindle the Metis, rather a pattern of “repeated mistakes and inaction” that allowed matters to drag on too long.

Consider, however, what it was like to administer a large land grant in Manitoba in the 1870s. Civil government had to be established before anything could be done. The land newly acquired from the Hudson’s Bay Company had to be surveyed before it could be distributed.

The Metis, many of whom were absent from Red River for long periods while trading or hunting, had to be enumerated in a census. All this had to be done before the age of the typewriter, or even a rail link to Manitoba, let alone the modern conveniences of telephone and Internet.

Administrative mistakes were made, indeed, but most were explicable and all were rectified (Flanagan, 1991). The Court seemed oblivious to the irony that, whereas the land was distributed in eleven years, it took the modern judicial process 37 years to reach a conclusion, from the first statement of claim in 1976 to the Supreme Court’s decision in 2013.

And the Supreme Court’s decision was not really final. It was only a declaratory judgment that the administrative processes of the 1870s did not live up to the honour of the Crown. The Court did not impose a remedy, leaving its decision to become another talking point in the ongoing negotiations between Ottawa and the Metis.

In practice, the honour of the Crown has become an ill-defined standard in which present-day courts use contemporary standards to review the actions of past decision-makers, who acted in a long-vanished world subject to imperatives and constraints that are difficult to understand today.

It is an attempt to achieve what the American economist Thomas Sowell calls “cosmic justice”, imposing burdens on living people who have done nothing wrong in order to rectify injustices allegedly suffered by those who are no longer alive (Sowell, 1999).

This anachronistic approach is a source of considerable uncertainty in aboriginal jurisprudence. No one can say when the courts may next invoke the honour of the Crown to overturn areas of law that had been considered settled for years, decades, even centuries.

Two momentous examples will be discussed below—the decisions that aboriginal rights and title still exist in British Columbia, and that the Crown has a duty to consult with aboriginal people before making decisions about Crown lands subject to claim.

Aboriginal Rights
In Delgamuukw ([1997]. 3 S.C.R. 1010), the Court distinguished at some length between aboriginal title and aboriginal rights. Aboriginal title is “a right to the land itself” (¶ 140, emphasis in original), sui generis in law, but similar in principle to ownership in fee simple in Canadian law. Aboriginal rights, in contrast, are broader in scope.

They include cultural practices, such as songs, dances, and ceremonies not intrinsically tied to land. But they can also consist of “site-specific” activities, “which, out of necessity, take place on land and indeed, might be intimately related to a certain piece of land” (¶ 138).

Examples include fishing, hunting, and trapping; picking berries and cutting timber; and performance of religious ceremonies at sacred places. In the economic theory of property rights, some of these would amount to a right to share in, or perhaps even to monopolize, a common pool resource.

No one “owns” the wild salmon in the Pacific Ocean. The aboriginal right to fish for food offers a constitutional guarantee of the right to participate in the annual salmon fishery and, indeed, as interpreted in Sparrow, offers “top priority to Indian food fishing” after conservation ([1990] 1 S.C.R. 1075).

After Sparrow, government can still allocate salmon to different fishers and regulate the fishery; but it has to put the interests of aboriginal fishers first and be able to justify any restriction on their activities. Because Sparrow was decided by the Supreme Court of Canada, the same principles apply to aboriginal fisheries everywhere in the country.

The right to perform ceremonies at sacred places, on the other hand, is not the same as sharing in a common-pool resource because consumption is not rivalrous. It is more like an easement on the title of the landowner—usually, though not always, the Crown.

A certain group of people have the right, at certain times of the year, to enter certain lands and act in certain ways for defined purposes (Ross, 2005).

Hunting, in further contrast, has characteristics of both an easement and of a share in a common-pool resource. As an easement, it entails the right to enter Crown land and carry out certain activities there; but since the supply of game is finite and consumption is rivalrous, hunting also involves questions of resource allocation.

These issues are as old as Canada. Prior to 1982, they were dealt with by administrative regulation within a provincially legislated framework, sometimes affected by international treaties about wildlife conservation. As is generally true under the rule of law, the courts played a role in interpreting legislative language and exercising judicial review over administrative actions, but they had to respect parliamentary sovereignty.

After 1982, now that aboriginal rights are constitutionally protected, the decision-making process is significantly different. The courts’ first duty is to protect these rights, and to strike down not only administrative actions, but also legislation, that infringes upon such rights.

The result has been a proliferation of hunting and fishing cases, as pre-existing schemes of regulation are attacked for not giving sufficient weight to aboriginal interests. Sometimes the old regulatory framework is upheld, sometimes it is overturned. Often, overturning brings more confusion than clarity, because courts are better at diagnosing past cases of injustice than of elaborating new general rules of conduct (Horowitz, 1977).

Canadian judges are aware of the limitations of the judicial process, and they know they lack the kind of information that legislatures can gather or that parties can bring to the table in negotiations. When they nullify a previous regulatory scheme, they typically lay down some broad general principles for the future, leaving many blanks to be filled in by lower courts.

They may also urge the legislature to pass a new statute, or the government to negotiate a new settlement with the aboriginal parties. But such outcomes are easier to visualize than to achieve, so that the real-world result is often more uncertainty leading to further litigation.

A good example is the Supreme Court’s Powley decision ([2003] 2 S.C.R. 207), which upheld a “site specific” right of members of the Metis community near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, to hunt moose for food without following regulations that would be binding on other hunters.

But this did not signal the general emancipation of all Metis from hunting regulations everywhere in Canada: “To support a site specific aboriginal rights claim, an identifiable Métis community with some degree of continuity and stability must be established through evidence of shared customs, traditions, and collective identity, as well as demographic evidence”.

As with Indian claims to aboriginal title, each claim of Metis hunting rights has to be adjudicated on a “case-by-case basis” (one of the Court’s favourite phrases). One has to establish whether an identifiable Metis community has existed over time in that area, whether the specific claimants belong to it, and the boundaries within which hunting traditionally took place.

“In the longer term”, opined the Court, “a combination of negotiation and judicial settlement will more clearly define the contours of the Métis right to hunt”. Maybe that’s true, but in the shorter term the result has been more uncertainty.

Aboriginal Title
In its 1997 Delgamuukw decision ([1997]. 3 S.C.R. 1010), the Supreme Court of Canada held that aboriginal title in British Columbia, that is, ownership of land based on occupancy prior to the 1846 proclamation of British sovereignty, had never been extinguished (except for the northeast part of the province ceded in Treaty 8, as well as a few bits of Vancouver Island).

Bootstrapping up from Sparrow, the Court held that extinguishment of aboriginal title required a legislative act showing clearing intent. British Columbia had never passed such an act prior to joining Canada in 1871, and after 1871 only the Parliament of Canada could have done so, but never did. In effect, the Court overturned the doctrine of adverse occupancy upheld in Calder less than 25 years before.

The Delgamuukw decision introduced considerable uncertainty into the ownership of land in British Columbia. For more than a century, it had been assumed by all economic actors that the provincial government had the underlying title to Crown land and could sell it to private citizens or grant licenses and tenures. Now provincial title was under a double cloud.

Aboriginal title still existed, but the Court did not define its extent. It did not grant title to the plaintiffs; rather, it sent the matter back for a new trial after laying down some guidelines about the historical evidence required to justify a present-day award of title. That gap gave rise to the doctrine of consultation (discussed below), which has become so important.

In Tsilhqot’in Nation (2014 SCC 44), the Supreme Court for the first time did make a declaration of title, which some observers greeted as a step towards clarity (Cullen, 2014). At least ownership of this tract of land had now been defined as aboriginal. In principle, business investors don’t care whom they deal with as long they know who the owner is. A logging lease or a mineral exploration permit is what it is, whether issued by a provincial government or an aboriginal nation. Yet Tsilhqot’in Nation is a long way from cutting the Gordian knot of confusion.

As Gordon Gibson has recently pointed out, it is unclear precisely who will have the power to administer the Tsilhqot’in lands. The case was launched by a single Indian Act band, but the Court awarded title to the Tsilhqot’in Nation, which is an alliance of bands. It remains to be seen how decisions about the lands will actually be made (Gibson, 2015: 32).

Tsilhqot’in Nation applied only to one claim. It takes decades of research to compile the information about historical occupancy necessary to prove a claim to aboriginal title, and more decades to fight through a court hearing and the various levels of appeal. At the rate at which the process works, it will be centuries before Canadian courts can deal with all the title claims in British Columbia.

About 60 claims were already in the BC Treaties process; but by making this declaration, the Supreme Court may have encouraged claimants to forego the path of negotiation in favour of litigation, even though the Court has said many times that negotiation is the better path for these types of claims.

Moreover, the Court has construed aboriginal title in such a way as to create further uncertainty. Although stating that aboriginal title is similar to ownership in fee simple inasmuch as it allows owners to exclude others and to enjoy the benefits of the asset, it has also emphasized that aboriginal title is sui generis, that is, unique.

It has specified four limiting factors that together increase uncertainty in economic decision-making, reduce economic value, increase the number of decision-makers, and limit the decision-making authority of aboriginal nations as owners.

1) Aboriginal title inalienable except to the Crown
First is the condition, going back to the Royal Proclamation of 1763, that aboriginal title is inalienable except to the Crown ([1997]. 3 S.C.R. 1010, ¶ 113).

This reduces the value of their land to aboriginal owners by setting up the Crown as a monopoly purchaser. Other owners can maximize the value of their land by seeking competitive bids, but not aboriginal nations. There are alternatives, of course, but they are not as attractive economically. An aboriginal nation could surrender some of its land to the Crown, which in turn could sell it to a non-sovereign purchaser.

This is a cumbersome three-cornered procedure guaranteed to increase time and expense as the Crown tries to bullet-proof itself from later being sued as in Guerin for breach of fiduciary duty ([1984] 2 S.C.R. 335). Or—much more likely to happen—an aboriginal nation can enter into a lease agreement with a would-be developer.

This may be adequate for certain purposes, but in general a lease is not worth as much as a purchase because it runs for a stipulated time, after which it expires without guarantee of renewal. Leases give rise to many disputes over terms as well as conflicts in renewal negotiations. Outright purchase would often be a superior option for minimizing transaction costs, but the Court’s doctrine does not allow outright purchase.

2) Aboriginal title collective
Then there is a double condition, expressed in Tsilhqot’in Nation in a single paragraph: Aboriginal title, however, comes with an important restriction—it is collective title held not only for the present generation but for all succeeding generations. This means it cannot be alienated except to the Crown or encumbered in ways that would prevent future generations of the group from using and enjoying it.

Nor can the land be developed or misused in a way that would substantially deprive future generations of the benefit of the land. Some changes—even permanent changes–to the land may be possible. Whether a particular use is irreconcilable with the ability of succeeding generations to benefit from the land will be a matter to be determined when the issue arises. (2014 SCC 44, para 74)

Defining aboriginal title as collective raises important questions for the future. Will this allow First Nations whose aboriginal title is recognized by the courts to create titles in fee simple for their members, as the Nisga’a have done?

Certainly not all, but some First Nations may wish to do so. Individual title has indisputable advantages over collective title for many purposes. Individual owners can act more quickly, and can tailor their decisions more carefully to their specific interests, than can collectivities, which must make decisions either through delegated management or through cumbersome political processes.

Moreover, defining aboriginal title as inherently collective overlooks the reality of individual property rights among pre-contact aboriginal peoples (Anderson, 1992; Flanagan, Alcantara, and Le Dressay, 2011). Depending on their culture, aboriginal peoples had individually and family-owned gardens, farms, berry patches, fishing stations, trap lines, and hunting grounds.

Individually owned property is the main vehicle of the Canadian economy; will First Nations people have access to it under the doctrine of aboriginal title? That question will have to be answered at some point.

3) Aboriginal title permanent
Also problematic is the condition that land held under aboriginal title may not be “encumbered in ways that would prevent future generations of the group from using and enjoying it”. This is hardly an objective, bright-line criterion.

What if the government of a First Nation signs a long-term lease agreement for a developer to build a residential complex, or a shopping centre, or a golf course? Such deals, which are common now on Indian reserves, bring badly needed revenue to First Nations, but they also dedicate land in ways that often cannot be easily reversed. Does that “prevent future generations of the group from using and enjoying” the land? In Delgamuukw, former Chief Justice Lamer construed the issue in cultural terms:

If occupation is established with reference to the use of the land as a hunting ground, then the group that successfully claims aboriginal title to that land may not use it in such a fashion as to destroy its value for such a use (e.g., by strip mining it).

Similarly, if a group claims a special bond with the land because of its ceremonial or cultural significance, it may not use the land in such a way as to destroy that relationship (e.g., by developing it in such a way that the bond is destroyed, perhaps by turning it into a parking lot). ([1997]. 3 S.C.R. 1010, para. 128)

Aboriginal communities, like all communities, often experience heated internal debate over projects of economic development. One faction may want to affirm traditional cultural values, while another may prefer the higher material standard of living that comes from greater participation in the Canadian economy.

On existing Indian reserves, such debates are settled by referendum or a vote at a general meeting (Indian Act, 1985, s. 39). But this additional condition on aboriginal title may allow a losing faction to turn to the courts, arguing that the proposed economic use of land is incompatible with aboriginal identity and will prevent future generations from enjoying the land.

This means more disputes to be resolved by third parties whose lack of stake in the matter may give them a certain objectivity but who are also insulated from having to live with the consequences of their decisions. More conflict, more delay, more uncertainty.

4.) Doctrine on governmental infringement on Aboriginal title
Then there is the Court’s doctrine of infringement, which would allow governments to override aboriginal title for economic development projects deemed essential.

Former Chief Justice Lamer said in Delgamuukw: In my opinion, the development of agriculture, forestry, mining, and hydroelectric power, the general economic development of the interior of British Columbia, protection of the environment or endangered species, the building of infrastructure and the settlement of foreign populations to support those aims, are the kinds of objectives that are consistent with this purpose and, in principle, can justify the infringement of aboriginal title.

Whether a particular measure or government act can be explained by reference to one of those objectives, however, is ultimately a question of fact that will have to be examined on a case-by-case basis. ([1997]. 3 S.C.R. 1010, para. 165)

In this paragraph, Lamer refers to how government infringement of aboriginal title might be “explained”, but elsewhere he talks about “justification”. In other words, government will have to prove to the satisfaction of an impartial third party—the court system—that its plans for economic development are really necessary. As in the Sparrow test for infringement of aboriginal rights, it would be a multistage analysis patterned after the test for abridgment of Charter rights.

Such an approach leaves aboriginal title open to government incursion, for it does not distinguish public from private purposes. Chief Justice Lamer’s list of potential justifications lumps infrastructure (public) together with industries such as forestry and agriculture (private) or even “the settlement of foreign populations”.

This is reminiscent of the American Supreme Court’s Kelo decision (545 U.S. 469, 2005)), which has been heavily criticized by proponents of property rights because it allowed a city government to exercise the power of eminent domain to promote private economic development (Institute for Justice, n.d.).

Lamer’s infringement doctrine is rather like the concept of expropriation, which operates elsewhere in the Canadian economy (Milke, 2012), except that it is governed neither by legislation nor by judicial precedent. Precedents may arise in the future now that the Supreme Court has started to recognize specific claims to aboriginal title; but up to this point disputes over use of “traditional territories” have been handled under the rubric of “consultation”, given that aboriginal title to defined territories had not yet been recognized. Once a concrete jurisprudence of infringement arises, the only thing that is clear is that it will proceed “on a case-by-case basis”, because no general principles yet exist to guide it. More uncertainty.

The question also inevitably arises: what will happen to existing private property rights created by the Crown in British Columbia, either fee simple or leasehold (Bains, 2014: 3)? The BC Treaty process always assumed that private property rights would be protected and that land deeded to First Nations as part of an agreement would come from Crown land.

It is unclear whether that will always be true in future cases of aboriginal title awarded by the courts. Judicial recognition of aboriginal title is based upon historical evidence of occupancy and use, and it certainly seems possible that pieces of land intensively used by First Nations in the past might now be in the hands of private owners, or at least subject to leases or licenses granted by the Crown to private holders.

Maybe the courts will keep such private owners whole and order the Crown to pay compensation to the First Nation; but to this, as to many other questions, we simply don’t know the answer.

In the wake of Tsilhqot’in Nation, the Gitksan issued eviction notices to enterprises operating in their “traditional territory”, including forestry companies, sport fishermen, and the CN Railway. They also organized an eight hour blockade of the CN mainline running through Terrace to Prince Rupert, though the effort seemed more a piece of symbolism than a real attempt to block traffic (Coppin, 2014).

If this or similar attempts end up in the courts, answers may emerge to questions about the status of private property rights conferred by the Crown on lands subject to claim of aboriginal title.


Below are a few representative quotations from Chief Justice McLachlin’s majority opinion in Haida Nation ([2004] 3 S.C.R. 511) regarding consultation with First Nations with potential claims to aboriginal title: Knowledge of a credible but unproven claim suffices to trigger a duty to consult and accommodate. The content of the duty, however, varies with the circumstances … A dubious or peripheral claim may attract a mere duty of notice, while a stronger claim may attract more stringent dut

Precisely what is required of the government may vary with the strength of the claim and the circumstances. But at a minimum, it must be consistent with the honour of the Crown.

The content of the duty to consult and accommodate varies with the circumstances. Precisely what duties arise in different situations will be defined as the case law in this emerging area develops. In general terms, however, it may be asserted that the scope of the duty is proportionate to a preliminary assessment of the strength of the case supporting the existence of the right or title, and to the seriousness of the potentially adverse effect upon the right or title claimed.)

At one end of the spectrum lie cases where the claim to title is weak, the Aboriginal right limited, or the potential for infringement minor. In such cases, the only duty on the Crown may be to give notice, disclose information, and discuss any issues raised in response to the notice …

At the other end of the spectrum lie cases where a strong prima facie case for the claim is established, the right and potential infringement is of high significance to the Aboriginal peoples, and the risk of non-compensable damage is high. In such cases deep consultation, aimed at finding a satisfactory interim solution, may be required.

While precise requirements will vary with the circumstances, the consultation required at this stage may entail the opportunity to make submissions for consideration, formal participation in the decision-making process, and provision of written reasons to show that Aboriginal concerns were considered and to reveal the impact they had on the decision.

This list is neither exhaustive, nor mandatory for every case … Between these two extremes of the spectrum just described, will lie other situations. Every case must be approached individually. Each must also be approached flexibly, since the level of consultation required may change as the process goes on and new information comes to light.

Wording like this, emphasizing the phrase “vary with the circumstances”, is an invitation to more litigation and judicial second-guessing because no one can possibly know in advance how the spectrum analysis will play out in specific cases. Indeed, Chief Justice McLachlin was quite aware of the problem, writing: This case is the first of its kind to reach this Court.

Our task is the modest one of establishing a general framework for the duty to consult and accommodate, where indicated, before Aboriginal title or rights claims have been decided. As this framework is applied, courts, in the age-old tradition of the common law, will be called on to fill in the details of the duty to consult and accommodate.

Many thorny questions arose out Haida Nation. Does the duty to consult grant First Nations a veto? Should there be consultation with individuals or only with community representatives? How consultation should be carried out when both a First Nation and a Metis group claim rights upon the same territory?

What level of impact triggers the duty to consult? Is consultation only prospective or can it be used to address past grievances? To what extent can governments delegate the duty of consultation to local governments, tribunals, regulatory commissions, or corporations? Does the duty to consult cover only the administration of lands, or does it extend to the passage of legislation affecting First Nations (Newman, 2014)?

Lower courts have gradually answered these questions, with occasional appeals to the Supreme Court to provide guidance on particularly thorny issues. Government and industry are trying to adapt to the new legal regime, learning how to consult so that projects such as mines and oil wells can still go ahead. However, it is difficult to know what is really happening on the ground because negotiations are treated as confidential.

Consultation with multiple First Nations is particularly difficult because the duty to consult was never formulated with complex, multiple consultations in mind. Courts are not legislatures; the principles that they lay down in deciding particular cases arise from the facts before them, and the cases that gave rise to the duty to consult involved individual projects affecting the traditional territory of a single First Nation.

Consider for example, a long pipeline, such as the Northern Gateway, which would cross the traditional territories of dozens of First Nations in Alberta and British Columbia. A useful pipeline has to transit all of these territories; one holdout threatens to make the whole pipeline fail.

The same difficulty could arise with highways, railways, and power lines. In any large group of actors, there will always be some who see the world in different terms and will oppose what others see as the common good. Resistance from holdouts may eventually be overcome, but the delay and added expense may cause the whole project to fail.

A second problem is strategic. When many actors are involved in negotiating a bargain, everyone is tempted to hang back, waiting to see what others get, and then raise the ante with new demands. This type of n-person Prisoner’s Dilemma can drive costs so high that a project becomes uneconomic.

In the wider economy, the government can use its power of expropriation to grant an easement for a utility corridor or even compel purchase of land with appropriate compensation; but such legislation, which exists in all jurisdictions, does not apply to the constitutionally entrenched aboriginal title of First Nations.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly said that the duty to consult does not confer a right of veto upon First Nations and that governments can intervene to empower major economic development projects on aboriginal land. But such action would be fraught with difficulties, to say the least, because there are no legal guidelines for it. It might become a doomsday weapon that would bring political destruction upon the government that attempted to deploy it.

In 2005, the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, which had been delayed for 30 years by the Berger inquiry and various land claims negotiations in the Northwest Territories, was finally ready to go forward, after TransCanada Pipelines offered the NWT native groups a one-third ownership share.

But the Dene Tha’, a group of seven bands in north-western Alberta, were still opposed, and got a ruling from the Federal Court that, in light of Haida Nation and Mikisew Cree, they had not been adequately consulted (2006 FC 1354). While the government was working through the consequences of this new delay, discoveries of shale gas across North America caused the price of natural gas to fall dramatically, and TransCanada withdrew from the project even though it received federal cabinet approval in 2011. In this instance, the demand for further consultation may have forestalled construction of a costly white elephant.

Nonetheless, the saga illustrates that big projects are time-sensitive and can be rendered uneconomic by postponement. The duty to consult does not grant First Nations a veto in law, but the delays involved in consultation may approximate a veto in economic reality.


The Supreme Court’s new jurisprudence of aboriginal title is a welcome attempt to restore aboriginal property rights that should never have been disregarded so cavalierly. Yet in carving out this new area of law, the Court has attempted to right historical wrongs without giving much consideration to economic efficiency. The result is a new set of property rights encumbered with such high transaction costs that they impede, rather than facilitate, economic activity.

Major examples of increased transaction costs
All of the decisions rest on the doctrine of the “honour of the Crown”, which is nowhere mentioned in the Canadian Constitution. This judicially created doctrine is an invitation to historical anachronism and makes the outcome of litigation hard to predict, illustrated by the number of times that the Supreme Court has overturned the decisions of lower courts on issues of aboriginal property rights.

Sparrow applied only to fishing rights but its logic may legitimize aboriginal easements on property owned by the Crown and owned or leased in the private sector: fishing, hunting, trapping, picking berries, visiting sacred sites, conducting ceremonies. Every easement consumes resources in negotiating the practical details and enforcing the negotiated agreements.

In effect, each easement enlarges the number of decision-makers who share control of designated tracts of land.

Delgamuukw cast a shadow of uncertainty over the Crown’s title to all public land in British Columbia by holding that aboriginal title still exists. Tsilhqot’in Nation reduced the uncertainty in a single instance by recognizing the aboriginal title of one First Nation to a particular tract of land.

However, this invites future litigation by other claimants, who may see it as an alternative to working through the BC Treaty process. The cloud of uncertainty still hovers over most land in British Columbia.

As propounded in Delgamuukw and Tsilhqot’in Nation, aboriginal title is sui generis and therefore difficult to interpret. It is limited in several ways (inalienability except to the Crown, collective nature, permanence, and governmental infringement) that are unique in Canadian property law, which means precedents to guide understanding are scarce.

The extremely long delays and uncertainty surrounding aboriginal title have led the Court toward another new creation, the doctrine of consultation and accommodation, couched in such enigmatic terms—the spectrum analysis—as to invite a further cascade of litigation.

Due to the way it came before the Court, the doctrine of consultation was framed to consider only a single First Nation and a single project. It thus gives considerable power to each of the dozens of First Nations and Metis communities that might be involved in consultations over “long, thin” infrastructure projects: pipelines, electricity corridors, railways, and roads.

There is no legal veto—the Court has been clear about that—but the power to impede may come close to a veto in practice.

In the Mikisew decision, the Court extended its consultation jurisprudence, originally designed for lands under claim of aboriginal title, to lands where aboriginal title had long ago been surrendered by treaty. This undermined the Crown’s control of public lands in Ontario and the three Prairie Provinces, introducing new layers of uncertainty through multiplication of the number of decision-makers and of protected rights.

The Supreme Court’s new jurisprudence of aboriginal title is now contributing to the blocking or delay of numerous major resource projects, including the export of liquid natural gas, construction of oil pipelines, and the “Ring of Fire” mining concept in Ontario. (Of course, other jurisdictional and environmental issues are also involved in all these projects.) Some may ultimately be built, but the delays are costly. At the very least, the Court’s new jurisprudence has made project approval more, rather than less, difficult.

This is not a problem with a simple solution. In a polity based on constitutionalism and the rule of law, the decisions of the highest court cannot be ignored or wished away. In a practical sense, the Constitution, as Charles Evans Hughes famously said, is what the judges say it is.

Possible avenues out of the growing impasse
One is the ultimate option of extinguishment of aboriginal title through sovereign enactment, which the Supreme Court was careful to leave open in its Delgamuukw opinion. But the sovereign is bound by the Constitution, and § 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, entrenches “existing aboriginal and treaty rights”.

It would thus take a constitutional amendment to impose a settlement of claims to aboriginal title in British Columbia, and it is far from clear what the appropriate amending formula would be. Would each First Nation have to agree to the settlement, since the rights of each are at stake? The only safe prediction is that it would touch off a litigation bonanza beyond anything we have yet seen, so that a federal government would resort to such an initiative only in an extreme emergency.

It is also possible to create processes to clarify and structure consultation, establishing regular procedures and criteria for decision-making. The provinces have been attempting to do this through both legislation and regulation (Newman, 2014), but not without controversy. First Nations have attacked Alberta’s legislation about consultation, saying they were not sufficiently consulted before its enactment (Klinkenberg, 2014).

Such arguments will ultimately be settled in court. Parliament also did something similar through its omnibus bills C-38 and C-45, which streamlined the hearings procedure of the National Energy Board. But the result was further conflict, as these bills became major issues for the Idle No More movement and remain controversial among those who oppose construction, expansion, or reversal of pipelines.

Finally, the members of the judiciary could start to pay some attention to economic efficiency. In other areas of jurisprudence, the Court has not hesitated to import fundamental values. For example, it spoke in the Secession Reference of “underlying principles animating the whole of the Constitution, including the principles of federalism, democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law, and respect for minorities” ([1998] 2 S.C.R. 217).

Extensive research shows that these desirable values are best protected in regimes based on widely distributed property rights and a market economy (Acemoglu and Robinson, 2012). Nothing prevents the justices of the Supreme Court, or of any Canadian court, of paying some attention to these basic facts when they render decisions.

The justices could make more effort to seek clarity and bright lines in their judgments rather than opting for remedies that invite further litigation. They could try to avoid increasing the number of claimants and decision-makers, while laying down more bright-line rules rather than opaque principles whose application is impossible to predict in advance.

Coates and Newman (2014) have recently suggested that provincial governments might accelerate this process by submitting reference questions to provincial courts of appeal.

Canadian courts, with the Supreme Court in the lead, are creating a new jurisprudence of aboriginal title. Because it is based on § 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the new jurisprudence has constitutional status, and it is thus impossible for Parliament or the provincial legislatures to make amendments. The ball is in the courts’ court. If they don’t start giving some consideration to the economic implications of their judgments, the growth of Canada’s resource industries could be seriously impeded.


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About the Author: Tom Flanagan
Tom Flanagan received his B.A. from Notre Dame and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. He taught political science at the University of Calgary from 1968 until retirement in 2013. Dr. Flanagan is now Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Distinguished Fellow, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, as well as the Chair, Aboriginal Futures, at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

He is the author of many books and articles on topics such as Louis Riel and Metis history, aboriginal rights and land claims, Canadian political parties, political campaigning, and applications of game theory to politics.

His books have won six prizes, including the Donner-Canadian Prize for best book of the year in Canadian public policy. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1996. Dr. Flanagan has also been a frequent expert witness in litigation over aboriginal and treaty land claims. In the political realm, he managed Stephen Harper’s campaigns for leadership of the Canadian Alliance and the Conservative Party of Canada, the 2004 Conservative national campaign, and the 2012 Wildrose Alberta provincial campaign.

4) Economic Development in Jeopardy? Implications of the Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto Decision by Ravina Bains, Fraser Institute, Toronto, 2015.


The Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto BC Court of Appeal decision opens the door for future aboriginal title litiga¬tion against private parties—litigation that was previously only brought against provincial and federal governments.

Following the BC Court of Appeal decision, First Nations no longer have to prove aborigi-nal title before bringing damages claims against private parties, such as resource companies. Simply claiming aboriginal title is enough to bring forward litigation against private parties.
In provinces like British Columbia where over 100% of the province is currently under claim, this puts all current and future economic development projects in jeopardy. Specifically, this judgment could put the Kitimat aluminum smelter and the Kenney Dam, which has been operating for over 60 years with the support of Haisla First Nation, in jeopardy.
Just as the Tsilhqot’in decision resulted in increased litigation against the Crown, this judgement will now result in litigation against private parties regarding aboriginal title, which prior to this case was unprecedented.
In 2014 I wrote about how the Supreme Court’s historic Tsilhqot’in decision was going to be a game changer for economic development proj¬ects and aboriginal title cases in British Colum¬bia (Bains, 2014).

A year later, another historic decision, that the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear, will not only affect the eco¬nomic prosperity of British Columbia, but is also likely to affect the rights of private parties. In its ground-breaking decision of October 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld an April 2015 BC Court of Appeal decision that will allow Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation (henceforth known as the Nechako Na¬tions) to bring forward a damages claim against Rio Tinto for the Kenney Dam, which has been operating for over 60 years in British Colum¬bia.

The First Nations will be able to bring for¬ward an action for damages against the private company without having proven aboriginal ti¬tle. The BC Court of Appeal found that simply claiming aboriginal title is sufficient to allow a claim against a private party to proceed to trial. This research bulletin provides background on the case and outlines the implications of the decision.
The Kenney Dam, located on the Nechako Riv¬er, was built by Rio Tinto in the 1950s on land that the province of British Columbia sold to Rio Tinto. The dam provides water for Alcan’s power generation facility in Kemano, which produces electricity that Rio Tinto uses in its aluminum smelter located in Kitimat. The Ken¬ney Dam has been in operation for over 60 years and the aluminum smelter has been in production for the same time period. The Kiti¬mat smelter is associated with the Haisla First Nation Council’s business development group and recently underwent a $4.8 billion dollar upgrade that has resulted in a 50% reduction in the smelter’s emissions and the capacity to generate over 420,000 tonnes of aluminum an¬nually (Rio Tinto, 2015).
First Nations
The two First Nations communities involved in this case are located near Prince George. Saik’uz First Nation is located just outside Van¬derhoof, British Columbia. It has 956 members, 54% of whom live off reserve (AANDC, 2015a).
According to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the community’s un-employment rate in 2011 was over 48%, which grew 3 points from 45% in 2006. In 2015, the community received over $2.8 million dollars in government funding and generated over $3.6 million in own source revenue. Over $1.3 million of this own source revenue was from a Kenney dam road settlement (Saik’uz First Nation, 2015, July 29).

Stellat’en First Nation has just 540 members, 62% of whom do not live on reserve (AADNC, 2015b). In contrast to Siak’uz First Nation, Stellat’en First Nation has a much lower unem¬ployment rate at 18%, which grew by 4% from 14% in 2006. In 2015 the community received over $2.4 million in government funding and generated over $2.2 million in own source rev¬enue, $1.8 million of which came from natural resource deals (Stellat’en First Nation, 2015, July 28).

As table 1 demonstrates, these communities are relatively small and are generating as much own source revenue, more in the case of Saik’uz First Nation, as they receive in government transfers. Interestingly, despite their opposition to the Kenney Dam, the majority of the own source revenue for each comes from natural resource projects in British Columbia.
Table 1: Facts about Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations
Saik’uz First Nation Stellat’en First Nation
Population 956 (516 off reserve, 440 on reserve) 540 (335 off reserve, 205 on reserve)
Unemployment rate 48% 18%
Government funding $2,838,311 $2,489,594
Own source revenue $3,630,128 $2,175,053
Sources: AANDC, 2015a; AANDC, 2015b.

The case
In 2011, the Nechako Nations filed an action for damages against Rio Tinto with the BC Su¬preme Court, claiming that the Kenney Dam is causing significant environmental harm to the Nechako River that is “negatively affecting the fisheries resources of the Nechako River sys¬tem,” which in turn was affecting the First Na¬tions’ ability to use the fisheries resources (2015 BCAA 154, para 24).
The communities also as¬serted that the lands on which the dam is lo¬cated, along with the Nechako River, are sub¬ject to their aboriginal title and rights because “they have used and exclusively occupied… the Nechako River and the lands along the banks of the River, since the date at which British Sov¬ereignty was asserted over British Columbia in 1846” (2015 BCAA 154, para 22).

In response, Rio Tinto asserted the First Nations claim had no chance of succeeding because the Nechako Na¬tions had only claimed aboriginal title and not proven title, and therefore their case was un¬warranted. In other words, Rio Tinto’s defence was that First Nations communities could not argue the private company interfered with ab¬original title and rights because the First Na¬tions hadn’t proven their title to the land.
Jus¬tice Cohen of the BC Supreme Court ruled in favour of Rio Tinto and dismissed the First Na¬tions claims on the basis that the Nechako Na¬tions case was based on “asserted but unprov¬en claims to aboriginal title and rights, [and] had no reasonable chance of succeeding” (2015 BCSC 2303, para 163-164).

In response to the BC Supreme Court decision, the First Nations appealed the decision to the BC Court of Appeal. The BC Court of Appeal over¬turned Justice Cohen’s decision in the spring of 2015, asserting that aboriginal title does not have to be proven before bringing a claim against a private party for damages.

Justice Tysoe of the BC Court of Appeal said aboriginal title and rights already exist prior to being recognized in court and the nature of this title does not need to be proven or defined before a damages claim is brought forward.

In other words, Justice Ty¬soe found that Aboriginal title and rights can be proven during the trial phase and requiring First Nations to prove title before bringing a damages claim against a third party imposes a burden on First Nations communities that does not exist for other Canadians.

Following this decision, Rio Tinto applied for leave to appeal with the Supreme Court of Can¬ada asking the court to review the decision. However, on October 15th the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Rio Tinto’s application and upheld the BC Court of Appeal’s decision.
What are the implications of this decision for First Nations, third parties (such as resource companies and private citizens), and current and future resource projects in Canada? Cou-pled with the 2014 Tsilhqot’in decision, the Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto court decision will result in addition¬al uncertainty for current and future resource projects in non-treaty provinces such as British Columbia, increased litigation, and now litiga¬tion against private companies and potentially private property holders as well.

Cases against private entities versus the Crown

The Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Na¬tion v. Rio Tinto is a ground-breaking decision for a number of reasons, one of which is the na¬ture of future claims that can now be brought forward against private parties that were previ¬ously limited to governments. Previous claims of aboriginal title have always been brought against the Crown.

As Justice Cohen stated in his BC Supreme Court judgement, the prob¬lem with the Nechako Nations claim was that they wanted to prove their title through action against a private company, not the Crown “and that the Crown is a key party and is the only party who can properly fulfil the role of ad¬versary” when addressing aboriginal title (2013 BCSC 2303, para 158-162).

The BC Court of Ap¬peal clearly disagreed with this point. By refus¬ing to hear this appeal, the Supreme Court of Canada has opened the door to future litigation against private parties that was previously re¬served only against the Crown. This means more litigation on aboriginal title, and now expanded to litigation against private parties.
Asserted versus proven aboriginal title
The BC Supreme Court held that a claim for damages could not be brought forward against Rio Tinto because the First Nations had only as¬serted aboriginal title and rights and had not proven that aboriginal title and rights exist¬ed.
The BC Court of Appeal disagreed with this statement and held that if the First Nations claim that they “exclusively occupied portions of the Central Carrier territory, including the Necha¬ko River and lands along its bank, at the time of British sovereignty” was true, then they would have aboriginal title to those lands and could at¬tempt to prove that title during their claim for damages against Rio Tinto (2015 BCAA 154, para 22). However, there are several problems with this assertion by the BC Court of Appeal.
First, as mentioned above, it exposes private parties to litigation that was once solely con-fined to governments. Governments have ac¬cess to historical records and negotiation documents to help them adequately litigate ab¬original title cases.

Private parties do not have this type of evidence and information, which can put them at a disadvantage. Second, it re¬mains unclear what the role of the Crown is in aboriginal title cases between First Nations and private parties.

Will the provincial or fed¬eral governments intervene in a damages case between Rio Tinto and the Nechako Nations, and will the provincial and federal govern¬ments recognize aboriginal title that has been granted through a decision between a First Na¬tion and a private party? These questions re¬main unanswered. Finally, the BC Court of Ap¬peal judgment fails to pay adequate attention to the unique nature of aboriginal title.

The One thing is certain: this ground-breaking de¬cision will result in increased litigation not only by First Nations against private parties, but also by private parties against the Crown. For exam¬ple, if Rio Tinto is held liable for damages,

Rio Tinto could sue the province of BC for compen¬sation, as everything it did
was under provincial license. Further, no longer does a First Nation have to prove aboriginal title prior to bring¬ing a case forward against a private party. What will be the impact of this on a province such as British Columbia, which has very few treaties?

Source: British Columbia, Ministry of Education, First Nations Peoples of British Columbia. abed/map.htm, as of November 3, 2015.

Impact on economic development projects
Like the Tsilhqot’in decision, the Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto decision will affect economic development in British Columbia. The Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto judgement allows First Nations to bring forward litiga¬tion against private parties by simply claim¬ing aboriginal title.
In order to prove aboriginal title, a First Nation needs to prove “sufficient pre-sovereignty occupation; continuous occupation (where present occupation is relied on); and exclusive historic occupation” (2014 SCC 44, para 30). As demonstrated by the Tsilhqot’in case, which took two decades to settle, proving aboriginal title remains difficult.
However, as figure 1 illustrates, territory claims from First Nations in British Columbia currently account for more than 100% of the land in the province. That means that every single project that is currently operating in British Columbia, along with all future projects, will be susceptible to litigation for damages. Furthermore, within these claim areas are urban centres and private property holders; it remains unclear what would happen were a First Nation to pursue litigation against an individual private property holder.
The Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies (2015) has shown that the number one impediment for mining investment in Brit¬ish Columbia is uncertainty over disputed land claims. These concerns result from the uncer¬tain status of aboriginal land claims in the prov¬ince.
By exposing private parties to litigation that has traditionally been brought only against governments, this judgement compounds the issue of land uncertainty in British Columbia. In addition to casting doubt on future resource projects, this judgement also jeopardizes proj¬ects like the Kenney Dam, which have been op¬erating for over half a century.
In its judgement, the BC Court of Appeal has shown a disregard for economic principles. Recent court decisions regarding aboriginal ti¬tle, including Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v Rio Tinto, have attempted to ex¬tend property rights to First Nations and right historic wrongs.
However, they have done so without considering the economic impact of their decisions. For example, the Mikisew de¬cision extended aboriginal consultation to lands where aboriginal title had been surren¬dered under treaty agreements. Previously, consultation was only required on lands that were under claim.
The Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto decision has opened the door to litigation between First Nations and private parties and potentially put projects that have operating for over half a century at risk. To address this increased un¬certainty caused by legal decisions, the courts could try and take notice of the economic im¬pact of their decisions and adjust accordingly.
In other words, justices can make more of an effort to “seek clarity and bright lines in their judgments rather than opting for remedies that invite further litigation” (Flanagan, 2015). There is precedent for important values being applied to court decisions.
For example, in the Secession Reference, the Supreme Court re¬ferred to “underlying principles animating the whole of the Constitution, including the prin¬ciples of federalism, democracy, constitution¬alism and the rule of law, and respect for mi¬norities” (Flanagan, 2015). Therefore, in order to address these economic implications, justices should consider the economic impact of their judgments.
Although the Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto decision did not re¬ceive as much media attention as the Tsilhqot’in decision, it may have an equal, and possibly larger, impact on economic development proj¬ects, particularly in British Columbia. This judgement has also opened the door to future litigation against private parties; litigation that needs only an unproven claim to aboriginal title to move forward.
This decision has the poten¬tial to create an environment of heightened un¬certainty for all existing and future economic development projects and could result in fu¬ture litigation between First Nations and pri¬vate property owners in provinces such as Brit¬ish Columbia, where over 100% of the province is currently being claimed by First Nations and aboriginal title to land has not been regulated by treaties.
Bains, Ravina (2014). A Real Game Changer: The Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia Decision. Fraser Institute. files/real-game-changer-supreme-court-of-can¬ada-tsilhqotin-decision.pdf as of November 14, 2015.
Canada, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern De¬velopment Canada [AADNC] (2015a). Saik’uz First Nation: Registered Population as of Octo¬ber 2015. Web table. AANDC. http://fnp-ppn. as of October 30, 2015.
Canada, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Devel¬opment Canada [AADNC] (2015b). Stellat’en First Nation: Registered Population as of Oc¬tober 2015. http://fnp-ppn.aandc-aadnc. aspx?BAND_NUMBER=613&lang=eng, as of October. 30, 2015.
Flanagan, Tom (2015). Clarity or Confusion? The New Jurisprudence of Aboriginal Title. Fra¬ser Institute. studies/supreme-court-decisions-creating-eco¬nomic-uncertainty-first-nations-canada, as of October 30, 2015.
Rio Tinto (2015). Kitimat. Web page. Rio Tinto., as of November 2, 2015.
Saik’uz First Nation (2015, July 29). Saik’uz First Nation Financial Statements, March 31, 2015. Prepared by Carlyle Shepherd and Co. http://fnp-ppn.aandc-aadnc.¬ta.aspx?BAND_NUMBER_FF=615&FY=
20142015&DOC=Audited%20consolidated%20financial%20statements&lang=eng, as of November 3, 2015.

Stellat’en First Nation (2015, July 28). Stellat’en First Nation Consolidated Fi¬nancial Statements, March 31, 2015. Pre¬pared by MNP. http://fnp-ppn.aandc-aadnc., as of October 30th, 2015.
Court cases
Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto, 2015 BCAA 154.
Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto, 2013 BCSC 2303.
Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44.
Ravina Bains is Associate Director of the Fraser Institute Centre for Aboriginal Policy Studies. She is the author of Opportunities for First Nation Prosperity through Oil and Gas Development and A Real Game Changer: The Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia Decision. She previously served as director of policy for the federal Minister of Aboriginal Af¬fairs and Northern Development Canada. Ravina holds an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a CN Scholar, as well as an MA in Asian Pacific Policy Studies from the University.

5.) Opportunities for First Nations Prosperity through Oil and Gas Development
by Ravina Bains, Project Director, Kenneth P. Green, Centre for Natural Resource Studies.

Executive summary
It has been estimated that, over the next decade, more than 600 major resource projects, worth approximately $650 billion, are planned for Canada, and First Nations communities have a unique opportunity to benefit from these developments.

As this study demonstrates, every oil and gas project currently proposed in western Canada implicates at least one First Nations community, giving them an opportunity to increase employment and eco¬nomic prosperity through collaboration in energy development.

In British Columbia, there are currently seven major oil and gas pro¬jects under proposal with the Major Project Management Office (MPMO). It is estimated that 56 of the 198 First Nations in that province (28 percent of communities) are in a position to benefit from oil and gas development. In Alberta, where the MPMO recognizes five new oil projects, 44 percent of First Nations communities can benefit from energy development.

Only two pro¬jects are identified by the MPMO in Saskatchewan; however, these two pro-jects will impact 23 percent of the First Nations communities in the province.

The First Nations communities that will be affected by oil and gas development have a young, unemployed population that can serve as a labour force for the proposed projects. The First Nations are one of the youngest and fastest-growing groups in the country. Whereas the median age for non-aboriginal Canadians was 41 years in 2011, the median age for the First Nations was 26 years. Moreover, the median age for First Nations communities that are in a position to benefit from the proposed oil and gas development ranges from 22 to 30 years.

Current unemployment rates in First Nations communities suggest that this group has much to gain from development in the energy sector. While the national unemployment rate is 7.1 percent, the unemployment rate for First Nations reserves is a staggering 23 percent. Unemployment rates are particu¬larly high (20 percent to over 42 percent) in First Nations communities that are located in areas identified for oil and gas development.

The unique combination of population density in remote, resource-rich areas, a growing and young population, and a high level of unemployment places the First Nations in a unique position to benefit from energy develop¬ment in Canada.

Nations Prosperity through Oil and Gas Development
While there are some obstacles to overcome so that the First Nations can benefit from oil and gas development, solutions can be derived from successful examples of collaboration between governments, First Nations, and industry members. One such example is the partnership between the Haisla Nation and Chevron Apache, which brought a $350-million liquid natural gas project in British Columbia to fruition.

It has been estimated that, over the next decade, more than 600 major resource projects, worth approximately $650 billion, are planned for Canada (Canada, n.d.). Due to a number of factors, First Nations communities across the country have a unique opportunity to benefit from these developments.

There is a notable geographical relationship between First Nations communities and energy development in western Canada. As this study will demonstrate, every energy development project currently proposed impli¬cates at least one First Nations community.

For example, approximately 23,000 indigenous people live in the oil sands areas, with 18 First Nations and six Métis settlements located in the region (NRCAN, 2013). The proxim¬ity of First Nations communities to energy development in Canada requires a working relationship between governments, these communities, and energy developers.

In some places, First Nations communities are already working along¬side industry to benefit from oil and gas development. For example, in 2010 more than 1,700 aboriginal people were directly employed in oil sands oper¬ations, and over the past 12 years aboriginal-owned companies have secured more than $5 billion worth of contracts from oil sands developers in the region (NRCAN, 2013).

Drawing on information from Statistics Canada, the federal Major Project Management Office (MPMO), and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), this paper will demonstrate that the First Nations have an opportunity to increase employment and economic prosper¬ity through collaboration in energy development. This paper will also identify current obstacles to energy development in First Nations communities and offer possible solutions.

Geographic advantage
Numerous First Nations communities are located in remote geographical areas in Canada. Often, a lack of economic development in these remote regions can lead to diminished employment opportunities for the First Nations. However, given the current climate for major resource development and the location of remote First Nations in resource-rich areas, these com¬munities are in a position to benefit from resource development, particularly oil and gas development. For example, the Northern Gateway project alone affects 36 First Nations in British Columbia and Alberta, while the Keystone XL project affects more than 12 First Nations in Alberta

As tables 1 and 2 demonstrate, the number of First Nations expected to bene¬fit from oil and gas resource development in western Canada is significant.

In British Columbia, there are cur¬rently seven major oil and gas projects under proposal with the Major Project Management Office (MPMO).1

It is esti¬mated that 56 of the 198 First Nations in British Columbia (28 percent) are in a pos¬ition to benefit from these projects.

In Alberta, where the MPMO recog¬nizes five new oil projects, it is estimated that 20 of the 45 First Nations (44 percent) can positively benefit from these projects. In Saskatchewan, only two projects are recognized by the MPMO, but these pro¬jects will impact sixteen First Nations (23 percent) in the province.

1. These ventures are listed under the oil and gas banner of the MPMO’s project tracker. These include new pipelines, the expansion of existing pipelines, creation of LNG plants, and so on. For a full list of projects and detailed project plans, see the Appendix.

Table 1: First Nations communities affected by proposed energy developments in western Canada

Number of First Nations
affected* Percentage of First Nations**
British Columbia 56 28%
Alberta 20 44%
Saskatchewan 16 23%
Manitoba 3 4.8%

As the evidence demonstrates, every single oil and gas project cur¬rently proposed in western Canada will have an impact on at least one First Nations community. Because the First Nations are located in resource-rich areas, they have a unique opportunity to benefit from oil and gas develop¬ment and bring economic prosperity to remote communities.
Table 2: First Nations communities affected by proposed energy developments in western Canada, by project
Project* Province(s) Number of First Nations affected**
Prince Rupert LNG (gas) British Columbia 6
LNG Canada (gas) British Columbia 8
Pacific Northwest LNG (gas) British Columbia 5
Fortis Kingsvale (gas) British Columbia 24
Coastal GasLink (gas) British Columbia 28
Horn River (gas) British Columbia 1
Keystone XL (oil) Alberta, Saskatchewan 19
Northern Gateway (oil) British Columbia, Alberta 36
MacKay River (oil) Alberta 1
Frontier (oil) Alberta 1
Jackpine (oil) Alberta 3
Enbridge Bakken (oil) Saskatchewan, Manitoba
Demographics and labour force opportunities

The aboriginal population is one of the fastest-growing groups in Canada. In 2006, the aboriginal population surpassed one million, up from 976,305 in 2001 (Statistics Canada, 2008). Aboriginals represented 3.8 percent of the total population of Canada enumerated in the 2006 census, up from 3.3 percent in 2001.

Furthermore, Canada’s aboriginal population is growing much faster than its non-aboriginal population; indeed, the aboriginal popu¬lation grew six times faster than the non-aboriginal population (45 percent compared to 8 percent) between 1996 and 2006 (Statistics Canada, 2009a).

As figure 2 (pp. 6–7) demonstrates, the aboriginal population represents anywhere from 34 percent to 95 percent of the population in northern and remote areas of Canada, which are also resource-rich areas.

This population growth has resulted in not only a larger aboriginal population but also a younger population.

2. Whereas the median age for non-aboriginal Canadians was 41 years in 2011, the median age for the First Nations population was 26 years (Statistics Canada, 2013). Furthermore, as figure 3 demonstrates, the largest age discrepancy is seen in western Canada, where the opportunity for oil and gas development is extensive.

Among the First Nations that are in a position to benefit from oil and gas development (as identified by the MPMO), the median age of the population ranges from 22 to 30 years. In Alberta, where 44 percent of the First Nations communities are in a position to benefit from energy development (table 2), the median age of the First Nations population is just 23 years—one of the lowest in the country.

Although the population demographics of the First Nations are unique, a more startling statistic is the level of unemployment on reserves. As of September 2013, the overall unemployment rate in Canada was 7.1 percent, which is comparable to other G8 nations. However, the average unemploy¬ment rate on First Nations reserves was a staggering 23 percent, over three times the national average (Statistics Canada, 2009b).

Tables 3 and 4 demonstrate the current employment and demographic picture for First Nations identified as bene¬fiting from proposed oil and gas development in Canada. Specifically, as tables 3 and 4 demonstrate, the levels of unemployment are particu¬larly high in First Nations that are located in areas identified for oil and gas development. Unemployment rates average anywhere from 20 percent to over 42 percent in First Nations where current oil and gas projects have been identi¬fied (AANDC, 2012d).

This unique combina¬tion of population density in remote, resource-rich areas; a growing and young population; and a high level of unemploy¬ment places the First Nations in a unique position to capital¬ize on the opportunities avail¬able through energy develop¬ment in Canada.

2. The growing aboriginal population can also partially be attributed to adults claiming aboriginal identity in greater numbers.

Table 4: Unemployment rates and median ages in First Nations communities affected by proposed energy developments in western Canada, by project

Project* Province(s) Number of First Nations affected** Average unemployment rate Average median age
Prince Rupert LNG (gas) British Columbia 6 42.7 31.6
LNG Canada (gas) British Columbia 8 37.8 31.5
Pacific Northwest LNG (gas) British Columbia 5 42.7 31.6
Fortis Kingsvale (gas) British Columbia 24 30.8 39.0
Coastal GasLink (gas) British Columbia 28 31.8 30.5
Horn River (gas) British Columbia 1 20.7 29.1
Keystone XL (oil) Alberta, Saskatchewan 19 28.1 21.6
Northern Gateway (oil) British Columbia, Alberta 36 32.3 28.4
MacKay River (oil) Alberta 1 20.0 29.8
Frontier (oil) Alberta 1 20.0 29.8
Jackpine (oil) Alberta 3 20.0 29.8
Enbridge Bakken (oil) Saskatchewan, Manitoba 4 27.7 24.8

Obstacles, solutions, and success stories
With a young First Nations population located in close proximity to oil and gas development, there is clearly an untapped labour force in these communities. And with unemployment rates in some communities reaching over 60 percent (AANDC, 2012d), there is an opportunity to train the First Nations popula¬tion so that they can develop skills that will allow them to obtain employment in oil and gas projects near their communities.

Poor high school graduation rates on reserves may be a contributing factor to high unemployment rates among the First Nations. Employment in the oil and gas sector typically requires a Grade 12 education (Careers in Oil and Gas, n.d.), in addition to specialized skills training. Nationally, fewer than half of First Nations youth graduate from high school, compared to nearly 80 percent of all other Canadians (AANDC, 2012a).

Unlike other Canadian schools, First Nations schools on reserves are not governed by any legislation that outlines standards, outcomes, or structures. This has resulted in a patch-work of policies and agreements that do not provide an adequate foundation to support comprehensive improvement or meet accountability requirements that would ensure higher graduation rates for First Nations students.

The federal government has committed to having a First Nations Education Act in place by September 2014, which would provide a framework for achieving better outcomes for students by creating standards and structures, strength¬ening governance and accountability, and providing mechanisms for stable, predictable, and sustainable funding.

However, despite cross-country con¬sultations with First Nations leaders, parents, and educators, the Assembly of First Nations has passed resolutions opposing the unilateral development of legislation on First Nations education (AFN, n.d.), so it remains to be seen whether the First Nations will be supportive of the proposed legislation.

After increasing high school graduation rates, helping more First Nations attain specialized training in the energy sector would help establish a viable labour force near proposed oil and gas projects.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has supported several pilot programs on welfare reform; however, until recently the social assistance programs on reserves were a passive cheque-cutting process whereby First Nations mem¬bers would receive income assistance cheques without any requirement or incentive to undertake skills training that would help them gain employment in or near their communities.

In its 2013 budget, the federal government announced that it would invest $241 million to help First Nations youth aged 18 to 24 obtain personalized job and skills training (AANDC, 2013).

This federal reform to First Nations income assistance is similar to the reforms made by provincial governments to their social assistance programs in the mid-1990s. Following these reforms, participating First Nations will only receive assistance if they enrol in training opportunities and case manage¬ment programs.

It is too early to determine whether these government policies or inter¬ventions are helping more First Nations members obtain employment in the oil and gas sector, but industry partners are also contributing to skills training for First Nations.

Resource companies have been investing in First Nations education and training in the oil and gas sector over the past decade. For example, Husky Energy alone has invested over $1 million in oil and gas sector education and skills training for First Nations communities (Husky Energy, 2013), and Enbridge has created educational training programs for First Nations communities located near their projects (Enbridge, 2013).

These types of employment and training agreements can be an important mechan¬ism by which unemployed First Nations members are linked with jobs near their communities.

Training and education aside, one of the most important components of a successful oil and gas project in or around a First Nations community is a positive relationship between the First Nations and industry members. Despite the potential for economic prosperity, there are many First Nations communities that are opposed to resource development. Many of these First Nations have utilized the courts to delay and halt resource development.

The courts have also created doctrines, such as the “duty to consult,” that have expanded the rights of the First Nations. In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada, through the Haida and Taku River decisions, ruled that governments have a “common law duty to consult, and, where appropri¬ate, accommodate when Crown conduct may adversely impact established or potential Aboriginal and Treaty rights” (AANDC, 2009).

The reference to aboriginal and treaty rights is from section 35 of the Constitution, which states that “the existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed … ‘treaty rights’ includes rights that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired.” However, the Constitution does not define what constitutes an aboriginal or a treaty right.

As Dwight Newman (2009) demonstrates in his book The Duty to Consult: New Relationships with Aboriginal Peoples, the duty to consult is not specifically written in the Canadian Constitution. Instead, section 35 “merely recognized and affirmed rights that existed prior to European settlement” and, therefore, the definition of section 35 rights “has been left to negotia¬tions and to the courts.”

Unfortunately, because most governments have not created specific procedures or policies surrounding the duty to consult, cor¬porations are left to develop their own consultation policies and procedures.

As Newman states, “the development of policies by corporations may also implicitly affect the normative framework within which the duty to consult operates … corporate policies may fundamentally shape the way legal norms are applied and, indeed, involve corporations in what are, in essence, law making processes.”

Until governments, both provincial and federal, outline specific policies and methods to fulfil the duty to consult, there will con¬tinue to be ambiguity for industry partners regarding how to fulfil that duty. Further, this lack of clarity on policy and process will result in First Nations continually turning to the courts to define the duty to consult and corres¬ponding rights.

As has been noted above, there is not a single oil or gas project under proposal in western Canada that does not affect at least one First Nations community, and the willingness of these communities to participate in energy development can be the factor that determines the success of a project.

Both the developers and the First Nations need to be willing partners; when they are, it is possible to build and implement an energy project that will bene¬fit all Canadians. The Haisla Nation’s integral part in the Douglas Channel Energy Partnership (DCEP) and Kitimat liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in British Columbia is a great example of a collaborative relationship between a First Nations community and oil and gas companies that will bring new job prospects and economic prosperity to the First Nations, local communities, and Canadians generally.

The Haisla Nation’s leadership and members rec¬ognized the economic potential of partnering with industry members and supporting liquefied natural gas development in their traditional territory. Chevron Apache and the Haisla Nation have been working together to push the Kitimat LNG project forward for a number of years. The government of British Columbia estimates that the Kitimat LNG project will provide over 5,000 construction and 450 operational jobs (British Columbia, n.d.).

Once completed, the Kitimat LNG facility project will have the capacity to produce approximately five million metric tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year— equivalent to nearly 700 million cubic feet per day, enough to heat roughly 1.3 million average homes (AANDC, 2012c).

The DCEP project will be able to connect to existing gas pipelines, elec¬trical power, and roads in the Kitimat area. The facility is designed to convert up to 125 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas into approximately 900,000 tonnes per annum of LNG. The capital of the LNG facility is pro¬jected to be between $360–$450 million (British Columbia, n.d.).

Aboriginal Engagement in the Mining and Energy Sectors: Case Studies and Lessons Learned, a 2008 report by Natural Resources Canada, identifies critical success factors in developing a positive partnerships with First Nations. By collecting feedback from energy and mining companies and aboriginal organizations on what has worked in building positive partnerships with First Nations, the report identifies five key success factors.

These factors are:

i.) Ensure effective communication and information sharing
a. Communicate effectively and clearly and be prepared to engage in discussions
b. Ensure there is transparent and open information sharing
c. Ensure there is a continuous flow of information

ii.) Commit to the engagement process
a. Need to commit to the engagement process, follow through on it, and ensure there is follow-up

iii.) Build capacity
a. Ensure capacity building is done when it is required
b. Ensure communities are involved in the capacity-building process
c. Capacity should be built and supported throughout the life cycle of the project
d. Capacity building may include improving governance structures
e. Ensure funding is provided for capacity building

iv.) Use an open and flexible framework
a. The engagement framework should be open, transparent, flexible, respon-sive, and developed using a consistent approach

v.) Develop understanding of communities
a. Ensure there is an understanding of: the values and expectations of the communities, the cultural and political complexities of the communities, and the socioeconomic, environmental, health, and cultural situation of the communities

Given these five critical success factors, it is clear that communication and transparency are important to both industry and aboriginal groups in a successful partnership. However, as noted above, in order for any communi¬cation and project to be successful, both First Nations and industry members need to be willing partners.

Combined, the unique demographics of First Nations communities, their prox¬imity to energy development, the high levels of unemployment on reserves, and the desire of energy developers to invest in training and education for First Nations youth have resulted in a unique opportunity for Canada—one that cannot be dismissed or overlooked.

This study has shown that every energy project that is currently under proposal in western Canada affects at least one First Nations community. These communities have a young, unemployed population that can serve as a labour force for the proposed projects.

Canada’s First Nations population is growing six times faster than its non-aboriginal population, has a median age of 26 (compared to the non-aboriginal median of 41), and has an average unemployment rate of 23 percent (compared to national average of 7.1 per¬cent).

Through targeted skills training and positive relationships between industry and First Nations, there is an opportunity to employ the untapped labour force in Canada’s young First Nations communities and bring pros¬perity to them and all Canadians.
Appendix 1
Prince Rupert LNG Project: Prince Rupert LNG Ltd. is proposing to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility on Ridley Island at the port of Prince Rupert, B.C. From the facility, gas sourced from north-eastern British Columbia will be exported to world markets.
LNG Canada: LNG Canada Development Inc. is proposing the construction and operation of a natural gas liquefaction facility and marine terminal for the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the District of Kitimat, B.C. The proposed project would convert natural gas to LNG, approximately 24 mil¬lion tonnes per annum, for export to global markets.
Pacific Northwest LNG: Progress Energy Canada Ltd. is proposing to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility and marine terminal near Prince Rupert, within the District of Port Edward. The Pacific Northwest LNG facility would be located on Lelu Island.
Fortis Kingsvale: FortisBC Energy Inc.’s Kingsvale-Oliver Natural Gas Pipeline is a proposal to loop its existing natural gas transmission pipeline system between Kingsvale and Oliver over a length of approximately 161 kilometres. The project will also include the construction of a new compressor station and compression capability.
Coastal GasLink: TransCanada’s proposed Coastal GasLink Pipeline is a 700-kilometre natural gas pipeline from Dawson Creek, B.C., to LNG Canada’s proposed liquefied natural gas facility near Kitimat, B.C.
Horn River: NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.’s Horn River Natural Gas Pipeline project is an extension of its Alberta System to transport natural gas sup¬ply from the Horn River area of north-eastern British Columbia to exist¬ing infrastructure. The extension consists of two parts: 1) acquiring the
1. Project descriptions retrieved from the Major Projects Management Office (2012).16 / Opportunities for First Nations Prosperity through Oil and Gas Development
existing National Energy Board-regulated Ekwan Pipeline; and 2) construct¬ing approximately 74 kilometres of new pipeline.
Keystone XL: TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL Pipeline is a 529-kilo¬metre oil pipeline that would originate in Alberta and traverse southwestern Saskatchewan before entering the United States.
Northern Gateway: The Northern Gateway Pipeline project is a 525,000-bar¬rels/day petroleum export pipeline proposal connecting Edmonton to Kitimat on the north-central coast of British Columbia. The proposal consists of a 1,170-kilometre petroleum export pipeline, a condensate import pipeline, and a marine terminal.
MacKay River: MacKay Operating Corp.’s proposed MacKay River project will use steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) as the in situ thermal recovery method to produce approximately 150,000 barrels/day of bitumen west of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The project will be constructed in phases with the initial phase producing approximately 35,000 barrels/day. The project will consist of a central processing facility, well pads, water source and disposal wells, camps, borrow pits, access roads, pipelines, and utility corridors.
Frontier: Teck Resource’s Frontier Oil Sands Mine is a 280,000 barrels/day open-pit bitumen extraction mine in the Athabasca oil sands area of Alberta. The proposal consists of the construction and operation of co-generation facilities, reclamation and tailings storage areas, and associated infrastructure.
Jackpine: Shell Canada’s Jackpine Mine expansion project is a proposal to increase bitumen production at its Jackpine Mine in Alberta by 100,000 bar¬rels/day. This expansion will include additional oil sands mining areas and associated processing facilities, utilities, and infrastructure.
Enbridge Bakken: Enbridge Bakken Pipeline Company Inc. is proposing the construction of 123.4-kilometre oil pipeline from Steelman, Saskatchewan, to Cromer, Manitoba. The pipeline will be designed to transport up to 145,800 barrels/day of oil.

Assembly of First Nations [AFN] (no date). Policy Areas: Education. <>, as of October 2013.
British Columbia (no date). LNG in BC: Projects and Communities. <>.
Canada (no date). Responsible Resource Development: Overview Canada’s Economic Action Plan. Government of Canada. < overview>, as of October 2013.
Canada, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development [AANDC] (2009). Summative Evaluation of Consultation and Policy Development and Basic Organizational Capacity Funding. Government of Canada. <>.
Canada, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development [AANDC] (2012a). Developing a First Nation Education Act: Discussion Guide. .
Canada, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development [AANDC] (2012b). Harper Government Invests in Skills and Training for First Nation Youth. News release (June 12). Government of Canada.
Canada, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development [AANDC] (2012c). Liquefied Natural Gas Project on Haisla Nation Reserve Moves Forward with the Signing of the Interim Regulatory Agreement. News release (March 16). Government of Canada. <>.
Canada, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development [AANDC] (2012d). First Nation Profiles. Government of Canada. < Main/Search/SearchFN.aspx?lang=eng>.

Canada, Department of Natural Resources [NRCAN] (2008). Aboriginal Engagement in the Mining and Energy Sectors: Case Studies and Lessons Learned. Government of Canada.
Canada, Department of Natural Resources [NRCAN] (2012). The Atlas of Canada – Population. < html>.
Canada, Department of Natural Resources [NRCAN] (2013). Oil Sands: A Strategic Resource for Canada, North America and the Global Market: Aboriginal Peoples. < files/files/OS-Aboriginal_e.pdf>.
Careers in Oil and Gas (no date). Training & Education. Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada. <>.
Enbridge (2013). Aboriginal and Native American Policy. .
Husky Energy (2013). Aboriginal Affairs. < socialresponsibility/aboriginalaffairs/default.asp>.
Major Projects Management Office [MPMO] (2012). Major Projects Management Office – Project List. Government of Canada. <>, as of October 2013.
Newman, Dwight (2009). The Duty to Consult: New Relationships with Aboriginal Peoples. Purich Publishing.
Statistics Canada (2008). Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Métis and First Nations, 2006 Census. <>.
Statistics Canada (2009a). 2006 Census: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Métis and First Nations, 2006 Census: Highlights. .
Statistics Canada (2009b). Employment and Unemployment Rates for the First Nations Identity Population and the Registered Indian Population (Aged 25 to 54) Living On and Off Reserve, Canada, 2001 and 2006. <>.
Opportunities for First Nations Prosperity through Oil and Gas Development Statistics Canada (2011). Median Age for First Nations and Non-Aboriginal Population, Provinces and Territories, 2011. <>.
Statistics Canada (2013). 2011 National Household Survey: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: First Nations People, Métis and Inuit. .

TransCanada (2008). Keystone XL Pipeline: Preliminary Information Package.

TransCanada. < 418396/550305/523332/540851/523361/A1G1W7__Keystone_XL_Preliminary_Information_Package.pdf?nodeid=523362&vernum=0&redirect=3 &redirect=4>.

The calamitous degradation of the natural environment in British Columbia, Canada, in particular the clearcutting of primaeval forests, has gone hand in hand with the displacement of the aboriginal inhabitants – First Nations – from their homelands and the desecration of their cultures. In fact, the most shameful consequence of colonial greed in destroying the natural world for “a quick buck” has been the pushing of indigenous peoples to the edge of destitution. The primary means by which the European colonists took over the land and its resources, displacing and impoverishing its aboriginal inhabitants are subsumed under five categories: Invasion, Forestry, Fisheries, Mining and Development. No First Nation has remained unaffected by the onslaught and all five forms of exploitation take place, or have taken place in a majority of traditional land and water territories.


chapter subchapter
Indian Land
Indigenous Symposium

Day of Activism
Position Paper

Sovereign Owners
Indigenous Rights



Ecological Stewards
Harriet Nahanee

chapter subchapter
Didiaht Pacheedaht



Norman Tait



chapter subchapter
Kwakiutl Protest

Gwaii Haanas
Islands Spirit Rising


Bella Coola on Tour


chapter subchapter

Glditas Daqvu (Ingram-Mooto)





Tsux’iit (Luna)



chapter subchapter
Lecture in Victoria

Tse Keh Nay



Klabona (Sacred Headwaters)

Archival Album

Taku Tlingit

Treaty 8
Doig River

chapter subchapter
Eagleridge Bluffs


Coast Salish
SPAET (Bear Mountain)

YOS (Bamberton)

Kuper Island

Douglas Lake

Ts’Peten (Gustafsen Lake)

Skwelkwek’welt (Sun Peaks)



Sutikalh (Cayoosh Creek)


First Nations – Indian Bands – Tribes
Canim Lake Band
Chehalis First Nation
Da’naxda’xw/Awaetlala First Nation
Didiaht First Nation
Doig River First Nation
Haisla Nation
Halalt First Nation
Hesquiaht First Nation
Homalco First Nation
Kamloops Indian Band
Katzie First Nation
Kitsumkalum Band
Klahoose First Nation
Ktunaxa Nation
Kwakiutl Indian Band
Kwikwetlem First Nation
Lil’wat Nation
Lower Nicola Indian Band
Lyacksen First Nation
Matsqui First Nation
Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation
Musqueam Indian Band
Namgis First Nation
Neskonlith Band
Nuxalk Nation
Nuxalk House of Smayusta
Seabird Island First Nation
Semiahmoo First Nation
Simpcw First Nation
Skeetchestn First Nation
Skwah First Nation
Skway First Nation
Snuneymuxw First Nation
Spallumcheen Band
Squamish Nation
Stó:lo Nation
Taku River Tlingit First Nation
Tsartlip First Nation
Tsawout First Nation
Tsawwassen First Nation
Tseycum First Nation
Ts’kw’aylaxw First Nations
Tsleil-Waututh Nation
Wetsuweten Nation
Williams Lake Indian Band
Xatsull First Nation
Xeni Gwet’in First Nation
Xwisten First Nation

First Nations – Councils – Alliances – Governments
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
Council of the Haida Nation
Gitxsan Chiefs Office
Heiltsuk Tribal Council
Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group
Nisga’a Lisims Government
Northern Shuswap Tribal Council
Northwest Tribal Treaty Nations
Nuu chah nulth Tribal Council
Okanagan Nation Alliance
Office of the Wet’suwet’en
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
Sliammon Treaty Society
St’át’imc Chiefs Council
Stó:lo Tribal Council
Tse Keh Nay
Winalagalis Treaty Group

First Nations – Education – Centres
Coqualeetza Cultural Education Centre – Chilliwack
First Nations House of Learning – University of British Columbia
First Nations Studies – Malaspina University
First Nations Studies – University of Northern British Columbia
Indigenous Governance Program – University of Victoria

First Nations – Media
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network by an Aboriginal Board of Directors
First Nations Environmental Network by Susanne Hare and Steve Lawson
Ha-shilth-sa Newspaper by Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Raven’s Eye by Aboriginal Multi Media Society
Turtle Island Native Network by Tehaliwaskenhas Bob Kennedy

First Nations – Organizations – Societies
Secwepemc Cultural Education Society
U’mista Cultural Society
Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs
Upper St’át’imc Language, Culture and Education Society

First Nations – Tourism
Bears of Bute
Esketemc Native Journeys
Gitga’at Tourism
Kispiox Adventures
Klemtu Tourism
Kootenay Wilderness Tours
Sasquatch Tours
Tlaook Cultural Adventures
Xats’ull Heritage Village
XA:YTEM Longhouse

History – Exhibits
From Time Immemorial: Tsimshian Prehistory by Canadian Museum of Civilization
Glimpses into Upper St’át’imc History by Upper St’át’imc Language, Culture and Education Society
Klatsassin and the Chilcotin War by University of Victoria, et al
Land of the Secwepemc by George Manuel Institute
Our Homes are Bleeding by Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Portrayals of Native Americans by Bancroft Library, University of Berkeley
Sinixt Nation by Kootenay Internet Communications Society
Tahltan Nation CD Rom by School District 87 – Stikine

Reports – Books – Articles
1862 – Four Years in British Columbia and Vancouver Island by Richard Charles Mayne
1864 – 1990 – Indian Affairs Annual Reports by Department of Indian Affairs Canada
1874 – A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean by James Cook
1866 – The Naturalist in Vancouver Island and British Columbia by John Keast Lord
1887 – Customs and Arts of the Kwakiool by George Dawson
1896 – The Social Organization and the Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl Indians by Franz Boas
1898 – The Mythology of the Bella Coola Indians by Franz Boas
1906 – The Lillooet Indians by James Teit
1905 – Kwakiutl Texts by Franz Boas & George Hunt
1906 – Kwakiutl Texts II by Franz Boas & George Hunt
1909 – The Kwakiutl of Vancouver Island by Franz Boas & George Hunt
1909 – The Shuswap by James Teit
1916 – McKenna McBride Report by Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for the Province of British Columbia
1981 – British Columbia Indian Treaties in Historical Perspective by Dennis Madill
1996 – Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples by Department of Indian Affairs, Canada
2002 – Treaties in BC: A Time Line by First Nations Summit
2004 – Land, Fish, and Law by Douglas Harris
2005 – Stolen Lands, Broken Promises by Union of BC Indian Chiefs
2005 – White Man Has No Right to Take Any of It by Kenichi Matsui
2005 – Joint Submission to the UN by Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade (INET)
2006 – Report on … UN Draft Declaration on Indigenous Rights by INET
2007 – Lessons in Possession … Vancouver Island, 1859–1865 by David Rossiter

Video – Audio Media
Keeping the Lakes Way: The Past and Future of the Sinixt by Sinixt Nation
The Wolverine Speaks (164MB) by Globalization Studies, University of Lethbridge, 2004
Harriet Nahanee – Tsibeotl by Gloria Alvarnez Mulcahy, Vision Quest, 2007
Saving the Sacred Headwaters by Klabona Keepers, 2007

On the following pages are listed photos and stories describing the following themes:

1. Indian Land; 2. Invasion; 3. Foresrty; 4. Fisheries; 5. Mining; 6. Development

Indian Land
Standing on the stump of an ancient cedar tree in 2000, a member of Hesquiat First Nation gazes over the clear-cut wasteland of his ancestral territory on Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island. The deep scars of logging roads and erosion are clearly visible on the mountain in the distance, evidence of the brutal clearcutting by Interfor. Photo: Adrian Dorst

Most of British Columbia (BC) is unceded Indian land traditionally under the jurisdiction of distinct nations (right). Aboriginal Title is an unresolved issue that creates conflict with settler society over the natural resources. “Our relationship to the land has always been of the greatest importance to our existence. The land is a physical representation of our spirituality. The natural resources must be protected. Our very essence and worldview is threatened by multinational industries such as mining, oil, gas, lumber, and water” Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.

Secwepemc George Manuel, Ottawa, 1978.
Photo: George Manuel Institute
First Nations Peoples. British Columbia Ministry of Education. George Manuel (left) was the first president of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. In 1978 he wrote: “We conclude that our People have no desire, under any circumstances, to see our Aboriginal Title and Rights extinguished. Our People consistently state that our Aboriginal Title and Rights cannot be bought, sold, traded, or extinguished by any Government under any circumstances” Aboriginal Title and Rights Paper (Union of BC Indian Chiefs).

First Nations chiefs, 1867. (Click to enlarge)
Photo: Archives Canada (F. Dally)
In fact, the Secwepemc and St’át’imc chiefs have never recognized British sovereignty nor have they ever extinquished their Aboriginal Title and Rights to their land and resources. Seated, from left: Na – nah, Dog Creek; Quil – quailse, Alkali Lake; Se – as – kut, Shuswap; Timpt khan, Babine Lake; Silkosalish, Lilloeet; Kam – eo – saltze, Soda Creek; Sosastumpi, Bridge Creek. Standing, from left: Ta – o’task, Canoe Creek; William, Williams Lake. A photo of a group of Secwepemc and Cariboo chiefs is dated 24 May 1867 (left). It was taken at New Westminster, the capital of the new colony which had been named by Queen Victoria when it was founded in 1859. The photo was engraved for the British illustrated press (below). Artistic changes included replacing the massive stumps of logged cedar trees with picturesque English oaks. The scene was intended to show BC Indians celebrating the birthday of Queen Victoria and is an early example of colonialist appropriation.

First Nations chiefs, 1867. Engraving.
Photo: Archives Canada

RCMP arresting a Secwepemc activist, 2003.
Photo: Skwelkwek’welt Protection Centre Today many generations have passed, yet no treaties have been negotiated and the Indian land question remains unresolved. The ancestors of the Secwepemc chiefs continue to assert their Aboriginal Title and Rights. Many Secwepemc have been arrested by the RCMP for taking a united stand against the ski resort built by Sun Peaks Corporation on contested Indian land at Skwelkwek’welt in Secwepemc Territory (left).
Resort developments on First Nations territories are a growing source of conflict. In 2002 an official complaint was made by the elders, land users and native youth of Skwelkwek’welt to the International Olympic Committee regarding indigenous concerns over the environment, Aborigional Title and Rights and Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic bid. The document appears on a German website which supports Indian resistance and human rights: Stopp Sun Peaks.

Skwelkwek’welt Protection Centre was founded in 2000 to protect the area from encroachment by Sun Peaks Resort. Spokesperson Janice Billy (right) says that as a result of the Centre, Secwepemc activists have been subject to repeated court injunctions, charges and arrests. See subchapter: Skwelkwek’welt. On 28 June 2007 Secwepemc activists held a press conference in Vienna to protest against the Austrian Olympic Ski Team for training on contested Indian land at the Sun Peaks Resort and for disregarding the United Nations Convention on Human Rights. See the German Press Release: Arbeitskreis Indianer Nordamerikas.
Resort development is also threatening a pristine valley in St’át’imc Territory where a protection camp was set up by grassroots indigenous activists. In 2006, its 6th anniversary was celebrated. See subchapter: Sutikahl.

Sepwepemc Arthur Manuel, UN, Geneva, 2004.
Photo: Russell Diablo
Sepwepemc activist Janice Billy, Sutikalh, 2006.
Photo: Karen Wonders
Secwepemc activist Arthur Manuel continues the international fight of his father, George Manuel. As spokesperson of the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade (INET), he attended the 6th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2007. The preceeding year Arthur took part in the UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights and in 2004 he participated in the 4th Session of the UN Forum on Forests in Geneva (left). “Canada’s policies, especially those aiming at the extinguishments of our land rights, economically marginalize our peoples and violate our human and indigenous rights.” See INET’s critique of the BC treaty process: Treaty Negotiating Times (5MB).

“An Indian Parley,” early 19th century.
Anon illustration: McCord Museum The British Royal Proclamation of 1763 was designed to solve the problem of private transfers of Indian land in North America. It decreed that there were to be no sales of such land to individual settlers: instead, Indian land was to be surrendered to the Crown through a treaty process. In other words, the document confirms the existence of Aboriginal Title and Rights which only could be extinguished by means of a treaty.
Visual representations of the British colonization of North America showed a just process in which the Indians took part as equals (left). In reality, treaties were no more than rubber stamps for the legalized stealing and plundering of Indian land. In BC, where most of the land is unceded and without treaty, First Nations retain their jurisdiction according to British law.

UN Rapporteur Chief Littlechild, 2007.
Photo: Arthur Manuel Chief J. Wilton Littlechild of the Ermineskin Cree Nation in Alberta represents Canada on the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: UNPFII. He was Rapporteur for the 6th Session: Territories, Lands and Natural Resources held in May 2007 (left). The Ermineskin Cree Nation signed Treaty Six in 1876 with Queen Victoria. When the Ermineskin have a grievance over the violation of their treaty, they address it to the British monarch and not to Canada.
Deceitfully, Canada has been one of the very few nations to refuse signing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Declaration. Until Canada recognizes that treaty rights are both human rights and collective rights, there will be no resolution to the ongoing conflicts between First Nations and the state of Canada.

Taiaiake Alfred is a Kahnawake Mohawk educator and writer and the founding director of the University of Victoria’s Indigenous Governance Program (right). He accuses those celebrating the 400th birthday of America in 2007 as turning a blind eye to the genocide of the continent’s native people:
“It’s hard for a native person to be anything but shocked and saddened to the core by the effrontery of it all. Jamestown 2007 is, in essence, a surreptitious celebration of the conquest of our homeland and the destruction of our people in the service of imperialism and the expansion of the white race. It marks the era that saw indigenous peoples ravaged by diseases introduced by European settlers (on average, our communities lost 75 per cent of their populations) and the dispossession of our homelands by fraud and deceit – not a single treaty entered into by the English Crown or the US has been honoured by the whites” Why revel in birth of imperial monster? Editorial by Taiakake, 11 May 2007, The Times Higher Education Supplement.

Aboriginal Title and Rights Rally, Victoria, BC, 2004.
Photo: Northern Shuswap Tribal Council
On 20 May 2004 an Aboriginal Title and Rights Alliance Rally was held at the BC Legislature in Victoria (above and right). About 2,500 First Nations elders, leaders, youth and community members protested the government’s lack of good faith in resolving land and sovereignty disputes.
The BC treaty process has produced few if any satisfactory compromises, accommodations or negotiated agreements. Regrettably, it seems that only direct action such as road and railway blockades makes the powers that be – big business and government – sit up and pay attention to the demands of First Nations and their non-native supporters.
Kahnawake Mohawk Taiaiake Alfred.
Photo: IGOV
Canada’s so called “Indian Problem” is caused by the illegal occupation of First Nations land by settlers. The dilemma results from the colonial state’s failure to resolve the issue of the indigenous peoples’ right to own and use their lands and resources. Aboriginal Title was confirmed in 1997 by the Supreme Court of Canada decision: Delgamuukw v. BC. In BC, where only a tiny fraction of the land is under treaty, land rights are most contentious.

Aboriginal Title and Rights Rally, Victoria, 2004.
Photo: Northern Shuswap Tribal Council

Thus involved in the First Nations land rights issues are several different but related grievances. First, there has been the humiliating imposition of British supremacy that went with colonisation. Photos that denigrated First Nations people as nameless and powerless subjects were common. Second, there was the shameful treatment of Indians in early treaties by means of which valuable land was obtained “for an apple and an egg,” amounting to theft. As indigenous protesters frequently state: there can be “No Justice on Stolen Land” (right).
Third, there has been widespread duplicity of settlers who have refused to stick to treaty agreements. Fourth, white settler society has flouted its own treaty laws if obeying the law meant that greedy land grabbing would have to be curtailed. Fifth, Canadian and in particular BC governments, in cahoots with corporate interests, have been following a devious and destructive policy of “divide & conquer,” playing Indians against Indians by offering divisive and corrupt deals, luring some poverty struck natives into accepting bribes and jailing others for standing up for their rights.
“No Justice on Stolen Land,” protest placard.
Photo: anon

“Saving the Sacred Headwaters,” 2005. (Click to play)
Video: Klabona Keepers Iskut activist Oscar Dennis is a spokesperson for the Tl’abanot’in Clan. On 2 March 2005 he asserted his Aboriginal Title and Rights by delivering a notice of eviction to Shell officials, while Iskut chiefs James Dennis, Mary Quock and Louis Louie looked on (left). See the documentary video: Saving the Sacred Headwaters. Royal Dutch Shell’s coalbed methane project on unceded Tahltan Territory is vigorously opposed by the Iskut elders. See: Klabona Keepers.
Shell’s industrial mining site is located next to the headwaters of three great salmon bearing rivers, the Nass, the Stikine and the Skeena. When Talhtan elder Lillian Moyer was arrested for a second time at the Klabona blockade, she said: “I am being arrested today for the people of Iskut, for the people of Telegraph Creek, and especially for our grandchildren. This is from my heart. I believe my ancestors are speaking through me.”

Chief Saul Terry is a member of the St’át’imc Chiefs Council. A portrait of Chief Terry (right) by Kwakwala artist David Neel was published in his book Our Chiefs and Elders (1990). Saul Terry was trained as an artist and in 1978 he produced a rock painting as a protest action against Canada. See subchapter: Ucwalmicw. Chief Terry believes that the St’át’imc people have the right to benefit from their resources instead of suffering third world living conditions, But in 1998 he made a notable statment rejecting the treaty process as a way to achive justice: “We are being asked to give our consent to eradicating or renouncing that we are distinct Peoples, with distinct identifiable territories, with our own governing systems, with our own distinct languages and histories. We are being asked to use our power of consent to deny to our future generations the benefits of Title from their homelands. The traditional leadership, along with ordinary Indigenous People, have been usurped by neo-colonial leaderships that are working with the settler governments to bring this aberration of settlement to a final conclusion. This is not self-determination, this is permission to be self-administering Canadian laws and systems” 30 November 1998, Vancouver Sun, SISIS Archive.

St’át’imc Chief Saul Terry.
David Neel: Our Chiefs and Elders, 1991

British Columbia Legislature portal.
Victoria, British Columbia
St’át’imc activist Carol Thevarge displays the First Nations version of the BC flag at a protest over the logging of the N’Quatqua forests in May 2007 (right). She explains: “If you look at a BC flag today, the union jack is on top of the sun and rivers to symbolize the British Crown. I am not sure how many people know about the original version, but the N’Quatqua elders told me to invert the flag and put it the right way again. So I cut the flag in half and sewed it back with the sun on top.” Thevarge also displays the Mohawk Warrior flag because, she says: “The Mohawks were our stronghold; they are the east gate that held the Europeans off for over 100 years and kept them from coming West. They are our big brothers and sisters that took care of us in that way. I will honour them whenever we make a stand, their flag will fly along with the original BC flag.”
According to Randy James, a St’át’imc whose grandfather signed the Declaration of the Lillooet Tribe in 1911, “Our Chiefs of that day realized what and how the world was defining a sovereign Country so declared us a Country using the word as they understood it at the time. The Declaration constitutes the Government of the Country, the Estates the Government rules over, the Peoples, the history of Defence and War of the Country, and the Sovereignty.” Supremacy problems have been revealed by the controversy over BC’s coat of arms, originally designed to appeal to Queen Victoria (left). Here the coat of arms is carved in stone above the main entrance to the Legislative Building in Victoria, the capital city of BC. The splendour of BC’s natural wealth is represented by the wapiti stag and the bighorn ram while the western location of BC is indicated by the never setting sun, positioned above the union jack on the shield.

St’át’imc Carol Thevarge, 2007.
Photo: anon

Nuxalk Matriarch Margaret Siwallace, 1978.
Photo: G. T. Wm. Edwards Traditional ecological knowledge is enormously important to First Nations sovereignty. Born in the ancient village of Kimsquit, Margaret Siwallace (1908 – 1985) was a Nuxalk Nation matriarch and chieftainess with a profound knowledge of traditional plants and culture (left). Here she is holding a bundle of Hellebore, a powerful healing plant in Nuxalk medicine, also eaten for medicinal effect by the local Bella Coola bears.
In 1985 Margaret Siwallace became the first person of Nuxalk Nation and the first aboriginal woman at the University of British Columbia to receive an honorary doctorate. This was in recognition of her extraordinary sharing of invaluable Nuxalk knowledge ensconced in aural tradition with an international body of social scientists, thereby contributing to the permanent documentation of a vast corpus of Nuxalk culture, including the endangered Nuxalk language.
Margaret’s great grandson, Spencer Siwallace, was elected Nuxalk Chief Councillor in 2007. “The Nuxalk currently have two governing bodies, the traditional government, through the Hereditary Chiefs, and also the colonially rooted Indian Act elected Chief and Council, imposed by the government of Canada” Nuxalk Nation. To bring international attention to the threat facing their culture by the vanishing eulachon, the Nuxalk organized a “Feast of Shame” in June 2007.

Qwatsinas (Edward Moody) is a hereditary chief of the Nuxalk Nation (right). His teachers of traditional knowledge were his grandmothers Margaret Siwallace (above) and Felicity Walkus and his mentor Willie Hans. In 1999 Qwatsinas toured Germany with a group of Nuxalk to rally international support against the plundering of their homeland by Interfor (International Forest Products). See: Kultur statt Kettensaegen.
Without the rich temperate rainforest biodiversity that gave rise to the remarkable Nuxalk culture displayed at museums around the world, the Nuxalk people will lose their identity. Traditional knowledge of plants and animals, of hunting and fishing, is disappearing along with the ancient cedar trees, grizzlies, salmon and eulachon. Qwatsinas has witnessed the clearcut logging of watersheds in Nuxalk Territory that once produced some of the world’s largest grizzly bears. He fears that the magnificent animals have nowhere else to go as their habitat continues to shrink. While returning home to Bella Coola in June 2007, Qwatsinas photographed a grizzly seen from the road (below). For non-natives, the grizzly represents the wilderness, but for the Nuxalk, the grizzly is an integral part of their culture.

Grizzly near Bella Coola, 5 June, 2007.
Photo: Edward Moody
House of Smayusta Chief Qwatsinas, 1997.
Photo: Philipp Kuechler
Nuxalk elder Clayton Mack (1910 – 1993) recorded the wanton destruction he had witnessed in his lifetime: “Why does the government have to kill so many trees and kill them so fast? Trees have been there hundreds and hundreds of years, why those white guys want to cut them all down in less than fifty years? What is the rush? Why are those white guys so damn greedy? Why does the government want to do that to all the grizzly bear and salmon river valleys? . . . Indians don’t do nothin’, can’t do nothin’, we just sit and watch the white men do that to the land” Clayton Mack.

Gilt engraving on book cover.
The Naturalist in Vancouver Island, 1866
Since the colonization of BC in 1867, the government has enforced policies that separate the aboriginal peoples from their fisheries. During the rapid conversion of aboriginal fisheries to an industrial and commercial fishery by settlers, there were many disputes. The rights of the aboriginal fishers preceded the British assertion of sovereignty, but First Nations were excluded from owning commercial fishing boats or canneries and did not profit from the lucrative coastal cannery industry except as labourers (right).
The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized a constitutional right of aboriginal peoples to a food, social and ceremonial fishery, yet conflict continues as a consequence of the unresolved issues of Aboriginal Title and Rights. See: Aboriginal Rights to Fish in BC (Scow Institute). High profile politicians including the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Indian Affairs have provocatively flamed the Indian land issues by publicly asserting in 2007 that the aboriginal fishery is “race based,” refusing to acknowledge that it is based on the use and management of Indian possessions from long before British colonization. As early as 1866, a member of the British Boundary Commission wrote in his travel account: “Salmon is of the most vital importance to the Indians: deprived or by any means cut off from obtaining it, starve to death they must; and were we at war with the Redskins, we need only cut them off from their salmon fisheries to have them completely at our mercy” The Naturalist (left).

Fraser River cannery, 1898.
Photo: Archives Canada

Surveyed boundaries are a European practice forced onto Indian land as it was stolen and settled without legal title. The relationship of First Nations to the land is embedded in the ancient tradition of shared and permeable boundaries which weave together ecology and culture. This tradition has survived despite the duplicitous “divide & conquer” tactic by the government. Under the cover of boundary disputes and treaty talks, it continues to give away Indian land to corporations for resource extraction and development.
The new industrial site of Polaris Minerals, called Orca Sand & Gravel, is on contested Indian land that is part of the Cluxewe watershed (below). Kwakiutl Buster Wilson protested: “How can we First Nations protect our land through Archaeology and Pre Historic Land Bases? There are many historical land bases that are not being properly looked into. We need to protect our rivers for our ancestors who always used the rivers for survival … We need to stop this mining and the continued stealing of our history away from us” BC Environmental Assessment Office.

Ancient Kwakwala site at Cluexwe River, 2006.
Photo: Poecile
Kwakiutl Buster Wilson, 2005.
Photo: John Morris
Buster Wilson is one of the nine Kwakwala speaking sons of Kwakiutl Chief Robert Wilson and Annie Martin of Tsaxis (Fort Rupert). In 2005 Buster took part in a funeral service for his brother, Albert Spruce Wilson (1939 – 2005), also known as Madzilas. He wore an eagle feather painted by a Kwakwala artist that was used as a pen for signing the book of remembrance (above).
Buster is concerned about the aggregate industry exploitation of the Cluxewe watershed where Polaris is excavating an entire hillside ridge for shipment to California. To facilitate this massive removal, Polaris has constructed a deep sea tanker port near the mouth of the Cluxewe River, an ancient Kwakiutl village and fishery site (left).

The German anthropologist Franz Boas was inspired to study the Northwest Coast tribes after seeing a collection of artifacts in Berlin. These objects had been “collected” in the 1880s by the Norwegians Johan Adrian Jacobsen and Bernard Filip Jacobsen on the behalf of Adolf Bastian, director of the Royal Museum of Ethnology. See chapter: Kwakiutl. Among the Kwakiutl objects was a transformation mask representing the sun (right). This was the beginning of the lucrative trade in aboriginal art and artifacts that hugely benefited all but the peoples whose numbers were plummeting while they were being robbed of their cultures and homelands. The academic anthropologizing of the Kwakiutl has not saved them from dispossession. Few if any Western scholars have combined their ethnological studies of First Nations with activism to help protect them from the rape, pillage and poisoning of their land and waters.

Kwakiutl Chief Rupert Wilson, 2005.
Photo: John Morris
Kwakiutl transformation mask, c. 1881.
Ethnology Museum, Berlin
Rupert Wilson is both an elected and a hereditary Kwakiutl chief and Kwakwala speaker (left). He puts the blame for the demise of his people squarely on the shoulders of the government of Canada. He has seen how in three generations the Kwakiutl have been reduced to living on government handouts. Kwakiutl employment in the logging industry ceased when union restrictions were unilaterally imposed and fishing as a Kwakiutl way of life ended when punitive laws were enacted to serve the commercial fishery.
Chief Wilson warns that the current replacement of fishing by aquaculture is the final blow to the economic independence of many indigenous coastal communities in BC. He sees the rise of this destructive industry as part of the longstanding and underhanded government plan to extinquish the Aboriginal Title and Rights of First Nations.

The shocking failure of BC’s Heritage Conservation Act to protect indigenous sites has resulted their looting and desecration. Chief Rupert Wilson remembers walking along Storey Beach at Tsaxis as a boy and finding skulls (right). These human remains came from the Kwakiutl burial practice of interning their dead in wooden caskets which were lashed to the high branches of trees, as depicted in a c. 1920 watercolour (below). Also the enormous and ancient shell middens at Tsaxis – evidence of occupation over thousands of years – were removed by the government in the 1980s to construct the runways of the nearby Port Hardy airport.

Storey Beach, Tsaxis. Painting by J. Wilson, c. 1920.
Collection: Archives Canada (Click to enlarge)
Storey Beach, Tsaxis, 2006.
Photo: John Morris
Beaver Harbour is the site of Fort Rupert, one of the first Hudson’s Bay Company posts in BC. Today only a pile of rocks remains of the failed colonial outpost while the Kwakiutl people continue to live here. They are determined to regain control over all of their territory and have launched a legal suit against the divisive land grab by Polaris. The Kwakiutl have also taken legal action against Omega (now Pan Fish), a fish farm company owned by the Norwegian mega corporation Cermaq, which has polluted Kwakiutl waters with its industrial operations at Hardy Bay and refused to provide compensation.

Killer Whale, Fort Rupert.
F. Boas, The Kwakiutl Indians, 1897 Scandinavians like to think of themselves as leaders in human rights yet the Norwegians take part in the ruining of the wild salmon stocks on which the indigenous peoples of BC depend. Why is Canada not protecting them from the plundering of international resource corporations? It is left to First Nations themselves to stand up to the monster Goliath of greed and government – big business corruption.
In 2007 Canada committed to saving the Southern Resident Killer Whales. See: Recovery Strategy. It is nothing but rhetoric, a cynical overture to the demise and disappearance of one of the most magnificent species on Earth – stewarded and celebrated for thousands of years by indigenous peoples – and wiped out within 100 years of colonization and mismanagement by Canada.

Guujaaw, Haida President, 2007.
Photo: Annenberg
“Ein dorf der Haida Indianer.” (Click to enlarge)
Illustration: Rudolf Cronau, c. 1881
Along with the Kwakiutl and the Nuxalk, the Haida were the most famous of the North American Indian tribes. Their spectacular totem poles and villages were widely represented in the popular press in Europe. Above is an illustration of the Haida village of Skidegate by the well-known German artist Rudolf Cronau, c. 1881. Haida carver and forest activist Guujaaw is also the long-time president of the Council of the Haida Nation at Skidegate, Haida Gwaii (left).
For over three decades Guujaaw has fought to protect the old growth forests of Haida Gwaii. In 2004, he led a pivotal legal case against the BC government and an American logging company: Haida Nation v. BC & Weyerhaeuser. The Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that Haida Aboriginal Title and Rights had been violated.

Our Land –
Our Rights – Our Future
First Nations held a National Day of Action on 29 June 2007 to demonstrate for their rights across Canada. The Cree director of Takwakin at Poundmaker Indian Reserve in Saskatchewan spoke out on the urgent and worldwide need for environmental leadership by First Nations:
“In our culture, you’ll find a belief in the sanctity of the natural environment. This belief can inform and inspire all Canadians as we struggle to formulate a sustainable economy in the face of global warming. Unfortunately, these beliefs are being compromised by aboriginal leadership, which has been co – opted into the narrow minded economic system of mainstream Canada. On the local and national level, our leadership is strangely silent on environmental issues. Money and political power seem to be their masters – no different from the colonial oppressors our people have lived with for the past century. This is just as tragic as the poverty and dysfunction that permeates First Nations communities, as tragic as the racism that exists at all levels of Canadian society” (editorial by Floyd Favel published 12 June 2007 in the Globe and Mail newspaper).
Aboriginal Title and Rights Rally, Victoria, 2004.
Photo: Northern Shuswap Tribal Council

Indigenous Symposium

Day of Action

A Tsilhqot’in prayer is being given to mark the Lhatassain Memorial Day on 26 October 2003 at Fish Trap in Tsilhqot’in Territory. Chief Lhatsas is a hero of the Tsilhqot’in War of 1864 who said before he was killed: “We meant war, not murder.” Chief Lhatsas was captured and executed on 26 October 1864 by the British colonial authorities together with seven other Tsilhqot’in warriors. Photo: Liam Haggerty

Gitxsan members protesting against Canadian National Rail in 1993. The Gitxsan instigated one of the longest running court cases in Canadian history over land claims. This is a still shot from the film “BLOCKADE” which documents the Gitxsan protest and subsequent arrests. Photo: Canada Wild Productions

Wilf Jacobs, a Ktunaxa elder, is building teepees on Kootenay Lake in southeastern British Columbia. Traditionally the Ktunaxa people used animal hides or reeds to cover their teepees. Today canvas is widely used in place of pre contact materials.
Photo: Ktunaxa Teepee Company

Elder Verna Williams is teaching a Nisga’a language class. Nisga’a elders warn that if the Nisga’a way of life is to survive, their language must be preserved. The Nisga’a were among the first of the indigenous Northwest Coast peoples to petition Great Britain. Photo: Nisga’a Nation

Sinixt teepee encampment protesting road building and excavation at Vallican, the site of an ancient village and burial ground in the Slocan Valley of West Kootenay. The Sinixt camp was set up in 1989 and is the longest on going aboriginal occupation of Crown land in Canada. Photo: Cliff Woffenden | Invasion | Sinixt

Sinixt Vallican

“When the first European explorers arrived in this area, they encountered a rich culture that had flourished in this region for many thousands of years. Despite an apparent genocide perpetrated against the Sinixt, and having been declared officially extinct by the Canadian government, descendants of the Arrow Lakes Peoples continue to maintain a presence locally” Sinixt Nation. The Arrow Lakes people are the aboriginal inhabitants of the Upper Columbia Basin (right).

Sinixt Robert Watt and Marilyn James, 1999.
Photo: Jackie Heywood
Sinixt Traditional Territory. (Click to enlarge)
Source: P. Pryce, Keeping the Lakes’ Way
The “Lakes” indigenous people were given their name because their territory was centered on the waterways of the Arrow Lakes region. Today Robert Watt and Marilyn James (left) accept their moral obligation as Sinixt to care for their ancestral land and traditional burial sites. Listen to the documentary audio on the past and the future of the Sinixt: Keeping the Lakes Way.

In 1972 Charlie Quintasket (right) from the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington State began to investigate why his Lakes people had no Indian Reserves in Canada. As a Sinixt speaker, Quintasket and a number of other Lakes and Colville elders participated in the BC Indian Languages Project initiated by Randy Bouchard and Dorothy Kennedy. Their comprehensive ethnographic, ethnohistoric and linguistic research on the Lakes people is compiled in First Nations’ Ethnography and Ethnohistory in British Columbia’s Lower Kootenay Columbia Hydropower Region (2000, 2005) and First Nations’ Aboriginal Interests.
Other contemporary references include Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, The Geography of Memory (2002); and Paula Pryce, ‘Keeping the Lakes’ Way.’ Reburial and the Re-creation of a Moral World among an Invisible People (1999).
Sinixt elder Charlie Quintasket.
Photo: Dorothy Kennedy

Bull Trout of the Upper Columbia, Sinixt Territory.
Photo: Ernest Keely
The Sinixt speak a dialect of the Okanagan – Colville language in which “Sinixt” (sngaytskstx) translates as “Place of the Bull Trout.” Like the Sinixt, the Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) is an ancient resident of the upper Columbia Basin. Today the Bull Frog is on the edge of extinction due to industrial forestry and other forms of development that have destroyed its habitat.
“Sinixt descendants believe that their ancestors were victim to deliberate smallpox infestations. Such epidemics were common throughout the Americas in the first few centuries of European migration, a time described as the Great Dying. As they were the Mother Tribe, it is speculated that the government and economic powers of the time targeted the Sinixt in order to diminish resistance from other tribal groups” Sinixt Nation.

Government plaque,” 1954. (Click to enlarge)
Photo: BC Archives In 1954 the BC government marked the anniversary of the International Boundary in Sinixt Territory. The Indian Legend Plaque (left) commemorates the event that led to the annihilation of the Sinixt: “When the International Boundary line was being surveyed in 1857-1861, the major portion of the large Indian band then living in this area moved to the reservation at Colville, Washington. One of the Indians entwined two sapling pines, saying ‘Though Divided We Are United Still – We Are One.’ This tree symbolizes the spirit of friendship existing between Canada and the United States.”
In 1956 Canada declared the Sinixt officially extinct, a decision that left those Sinixt members living on the Colville Reservation or scattered among other ethnic groups in BC without recognition under the Indian Act.

“Chief Edward,” Sinixt Chief, 1872.
Photo: Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture
Mattie, daughter of Chief Edward, c. 1950.
Photo: Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture
Chief Edward (left) was one of the last hereditary Sinixt chiefs. His daughter, Mattie (above), lived until the mid-20th century. By this time, most Sinixt had officially “vanished” from their territory in the West Kootenay. Having sustainably managed their homeland for many thousands of years, the only traces the Sinixt left behind of their presence in the landscape were archaeological.
“From the headwaters of the Columbia River north of Nakusp, to Kaslo in the West, Revelstoke in the East, and down into what is now known as Washington State, the Sinixt people lived in harmony with this land. They had extensive trade routes known as grease trails, travelled by foot and with sturgeon nosed canoes, lived in pit houses, hunted caribou, fished and gathered wild plants and medicines” Sinixt Nation.

In his 1825 journal, Scottish botanist David Douglas described an Indian burying ground on his trip to Fort Colville as “one of the most curious spectacles I have seen in the country … . The body is placed in the grave in a sitting position, with the knees touching the chin and the arms folded across the chest. It is very difficult to get any information on this point, for nothing seems to hurt their [the Indians’] feelings more than even mentioning the name of a departed friend.”
Neighbouring peoples to the Sinixt did not bury their dead in a sitting position, making burial grounds an accurate determination of territorial boundaries. For the Sinixt, who are asking for recognition and reinstatement, such evidence is vital. Traditional Sinixt burial grounds were located alongside lakes and rivers and it is a great loss that so many have been destroyed by hydro development.
“Indian Burial Ground.” Engraving.
Four Years in British Columbia, 1860

The European invasion of the West Kootenay caused a Sinixt diaspora: whole valleys were depopulated by disease and epidemics and the survivors were dispossessed by settlers, miners and governments. Vast fortunes were made while mining degraded the earth and poisoned the lakes, logging destroyed the ancient forests, dams killed off the salmon and caused Sinixt villages and burial sites to be flooded.
The first recorded contact between the Sinixt and Europeans occurred in 1811 when British explorer David Thompson paddled up the Arrow Lakes. Later, fur posts were built by American and British traders along the Columbia River. Fort Colvile (1825) was built close to the site of an important aboriginal fishery and a trading centre for the Sinixt, dubbed by the traders “Kettle Falls.” An early representation (right) of the falls was by artist and adventurer Paul Kane.

Kettle Falls. Painting by Paul Kane, 1848.
Photo: Royal Ontario Museum

“Kettle Falls, Columbia River.” Engraving.
Source: Reports of Explorations and Surveys (1855-1861).
Another early view of Kettle Falls is an engraving by John Mix Stanley (above) which depicts an aboriginal man and woman fishing with a net and basket. Sinixt women were skilful basket makers. Using materials from plants – branches, bark, roots and grasses – they wove a wide variety of baskets for cooking, carrying and storage. For catching salmon, they made basket traps of young Douglas fir poles which were woven together with hemp rope and placed across the falls.
Drawing of a Sinixt man by Paul Kane, c. 1847.
Photo: Stark Museum of Art

Salmon was the richest and most vital wild food source for the indigenous peoples of the Columbia Basin. Every year anadromous runs of coastal salmon – Chinook, Sockeye and Coho – and steelhead trout returned to spawn in the freshwater tributaries of the Columbia River, from its Pacific mouth, to the upper reaches of Sinixt Territory.
The Sinixt made annual trips to Kettle Falls to take part in the aboriginal fisheries with their neighbours, the Skoyelpi (Colville). According to traditional customs to distribute the wealth, a Salmon Chief was appointed to ensure that the salmon harvest was shared with everyone in the camp. During his visit to Fort Colvile, the artist Paul Kane sketched the Salmon Chief of Kettle Falls, known as See-pays (left). He noted that while the Salmon Chief “had taken as many as 1700 salmon, weighing on average 30 lbs, in the course of one day,” he was considerate in leaving enough fish for the Indians on the upper part of the river.
In the 1850s, Washington Territory was opened up for settlement following the agreement on the international boundary. Thousands of gold miners came up the Columbia River disrupting aboriginal fisheries at Kettle Falls and elsewhere. The indigenous peoples tried unsuccessfully to stop the invasion from continuing into the Upper Columbia Basin where the rugged inaccessibility of the northern Sinixt Territory provided a safe haven until the late 1880s.
See-pays. Painting by Paul Kane, 1850.
Photo: Royal Ontario Museum

“The ‘Kettle’ Falls’ A Salmon Leap,” engraving.
The Naturalist in Vancouver, 1866 The “International Boundary Survey” was carried out from 1857 to 1861. Its mission was to mark the 49th parallel from the West Coast to the Rocky Mountains according to the treaty signed in 1846 between Britain and the United States. This artificial north south division cut the indigenous tribes off from their traditional territories by preventing their seasonal moving to different resources and locations, a lifestyle on which hunter fisher gatherer peoples were dependent.
English naturalist John Keast Lord accompanied the “Boundary Survey” and in 1866 published a narrative: The Naturalist in Vancouver Island. An engraving of Kettle Falls does not show the spectacular runs of salmon for which it was most famous (left). Lord wrote: “There was no place in the world” he wrote, “where salmon were as abundant as at Kettle Falls.” The naturalist noted how dependent the aboriginal people were on the salmon runs, ominously adding: “were we at war with the Redskins, we need only to cut them off from their salmon fisheries to have them completely at our mercy.”

By 1855, most Washington tribes had been forced to accept treaties. The seven remaining “hostile” chiefs of the Upper Columbia River were persuaded to surrender in 1856 by a Jesuit missionary. To mark the treaty signing, a photograph was taken of the tribal chiefs with Father De Smet (right). Front row, left to right: Victor, Kalispel tribe; Alexander, Pend Oreille tribe; Adolphe, Flathead tribe; Andrew Seppline, Coeur d’Alene tribe. Rear row: Dennis, Colville tribe, Bonaventure, Coeur d’Alene tribe; Father De Smet; Francis Xavier, Flathead tribe. The so called “Colville Indians” were given a reservation in 1872 which artificially amalgamated five First Nations, including the Sinixt. In 1891 large sections of the northern part of the reserve were revoked for settlement, leaving the Sinixt with none of their traditional territory: Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Indian Chiefs of the Upper Columbia, c. 1859.
Photo: University of Washington

Chief Joseph, Colville Indian Reservation, 1903.
Photo: University of Washington Chief Joseph of the Nez Percé was exiled to the Colville Indian Reservation in 1885 (left). The famous Chief led a courageous retreat from the US military following the forced eviction of the Nez Percé people from their homeland in Wallowa Valley (present day Oregon). On his surrender in 1877, he was first exiled to Oklahoma, and later transferred to Colville with the few survivors of his people. Here he remained a political prisoner until his death in 1904, said to have been caused by a broken heart. Military operations by Americans also had a dramatic effect on the Sinixt, some of whom fought with Chief Joseph.

In the 1880s the rapidly expanding immigrant population of the West Kootenay led to the removal of the indigenous peoples from their land, following the same pattern as in the US. The Sinixt were discouraged from making their seasonal trans-border trips south to the Kettle Falls fishery. Chief Kinkanaqua, known as the last Salmon Chief at Kettle Falls, may have been a Sinixt (right). The pervasive lack of understanding of Sinixt identity and territory resulted in lack of official recognition when the Department of Indian Affairs conducted its 1881 census for the Canadian government.

Colville Indians fishing at Kettle Falls, c. 1930.
Photo: University of Washington Libraries
Chief Kinkanaqua, the last ‘Salmon Chief,’, c. 1895.
Photo: University of Washington
The traditional fishing practices at Kettle Falls continued until 1933, when the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam began. An archival photo shows how dip netting was carried out (right). Using long poles, aboriginal fishers stood on precarious wooden platforms made from giant logs positioned directly over the turbulent water.

“They cut down the Old Pine Tree,” 1941.
Photo: University of Washington
“Grand Coulee Dam: The Eighth Wonder of The World.”.
Source: University of Washington Libraries.
In 1947, the US Bureau of Reclamation published Grand Coulee Dam, subtitled “The Eighth Wonder of the World” (above). The dam was described as a “monument to prosperity” that had been created from a “barren wasteland.” There was no mention of the dispossession of the aboriginal inhabitants, the loss of the salmon runs at Kettle Falls, or the destruction of 52,000 acres of old growth forests. In 1941, the cutting down of the last tree was marked by a formal ceremony (left), before inundation. Large areas of the Colville Reservation were flooded by the new “Lake Roosevelt,” which stretched 151 miles north, from the dam to the international border with Canada.

Colville women at the Ceremony of Tears marking the end of the salmon runs at Kettle Falls, Washington, 1939.
Photo: University of Washington

For the indigenous peoples of the Upper Columbia Basin, the Grand Coulee Dam was a disaster. In 1939, the Colville Indians held a “Ceremony of Tears” (above) to mark not only the end of the salmon fishery at Kettle Falls but a way of life. “Toopa,” an Arrow Lakes elder (right) remembered the Kettle Falls before it was covered over by the massive concrete structure: Every summer, my family camped at the Falls. When the salmon swam upstream to spawn, the water became so thick and matted with their red bodies that it looked as if you could walk across the river on the backs of In – Tee – Tee – Huh” (The River Lost).

Syniakwateen. (The Crossing).”
Source:The Naturalist in Vancouver
Toopa, an Arrow Lakes Band Elder.”
Painting: Sinixt Virgil Marchand
Another traditional Sinixt meeting place was “Syniakwateen” (left), a crossing at the narrowest neck of the Pend d’ Oreille River. In his narrative The Naturalist in Vancouver (1866), John Keast Lord wrote: “The scenery is picturesque beyond description, densely wooded on each side, the river winds its way through a series of grassy banks, flat and verdant as English meadows.” He described the remarkable Indian canoes designed to traverse the river, which were made of a large sheet of bark that had been “stripped from a spruce fir [sic], tightly sewn at both ends, and shaped to form a conical point.”

Scottish botanist David Douglas was the first scientific traveller to visit the Arrow Lakes. In his 1827 journal, he wrote “Not a day passed, but brought something new or interesting either in botany or zoology.” He noted how the Indians use the lichen on pine trees to make a “bread cake.” “The canoes of the natives here are different in form from any I have seen before,” he wrote “The under part is made of the fine bark of Pinus canadensis (Pine) [sic] and about one ft from the gunwale of birch-bark, sewed with the roots of Thuya (Cedar) and the seams neatly gummed with resin from the pine. They are 10 to 14 ft long, terminating at both ends sharply and bent inwards so much at the mouth that a man of middle size has some difficulty in placing himself in them. One that will carry six persons and their provisions may be carried on the shoulder with little trouble.”
Eventide, Procter, BC. Postcard, c. 1900.
Photo: Glenbow Archives

A Kootenay Indian Pine Bark Canoe.
Source: W. Baillie-Grohman, Sport and Life (1900). Paul Kane was another of the first non-natives to paddle up the Arrow Lakes: see his 1847 map. He wrote in his journal: “The chief, with his wife and daughter, accompanied us in their canoe, which they paddled with great dexterity, from ten to fifteen miles. They make their canoes of pine bark, being the only Indians who use this material for the purpose; their form is also peculiar and very beautiful. These canoes run the rapids with more safety for their size, than any other shape.”

The elegant bark canoe of the Kootenay (right) was much admired for its lightness in making portages and its stability in navigating rapids. The unique design and appearance of the canoe was described as “sturgeon-nosed” similar to the primordial fish which inhabited the local lakes and rivers. Bark canoes were the primary transportation for the Sinixt whose homeland included the watersheds of three major rivers: Pend d’Oreille, Kootenay and Columbia.

Prehistoric white sturgeon, British Columbia.
Photo: Rich Lafferty
Sturgeon nosed canoe, Okanagan Lake.
Photo: British Columbia Archives
White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) is the largest freshwater fish in North America. Historically, it inhabited the Columbia River from the Pacific mouth to far upstream into Canada. A commercial sturgeon fishery began in the 1880’s at Kettle Falls but by 1899 it had collapsed. Sturgeon are long lived and slow growing fish which can become 100 years old. Females do not spawn until 18 years of age, making recovery of the species difficult. An attempt to prevent the white sturgeon from going extinct in BC is the Provincial Fisheries Program.

Sinixt encampment, West Kootenay, c. 1900.
Photo: BC Archives
Archival photos of Sinixt people are rare. A photo of an encampment on a West Kootenay lakeshore does not reveal the calamity facing the Sinixt as their traditional way of life collapsed (above). An alien and small inhospitable Indian Reserve was set up for the Sinixt in 1902 on the Lower Arrow Lake but not many people chose to stay there. As a result, the Sinixt vanished from the West Kootenay along with their distinctive sturgeon nosed canoes (right).
Sinixt and dog in sturgeon nosed canoe.
Photo: Arrow Lakes Historical Society

Bryoria fremontii, also known as tree hair lichen.
Photo: Sylvia Sharnoff Like the Sinixt canoes, groves of ancient trees, 1000 years and older have vanished from the Inland Rainforest of the West Kootenay. To stop the unethical practice of old growth clearcut logging, Sinixt Cultural Zones have been mapped in the Slocan Valley. Ancient trees with unique lichen colonies are treasures of biological diversity and ecosystem continuity: see a scientific study in the Journal for Biogeography. Bryoria fremontii is an edible lichen, also used by the Sinixt as a traditional medicine mixed with grease and rubbed on the navels of new-born babies (left). See Lichens of North America. Lichens in the Inland Rainforest are an essential food source for the woodland caribou, an animal traditionally hunted by the Sinixt. Today the species is on the edge of extinction, together with the ancient trees.

Galena Bay on Upper Arrow Lake, Sinixt Territory.
Photo: Don Peirot Galena Bay on the Upper Arrow Lake today appears a peaceful and serene place (left). A century ago, Sinixt people gathered at this ancient site each year in the early fall to fish and hunt while preparing their winter food stocks. This was an important site for the Sinixt, where they smoked fish in cedar huts and dried indigenous berries harvested from the surrounding forests.
In 1894, the Sinixt discovered a shack built by a settler on their traditional camping place. A Sinixt be the name of Cultus Jim declared his aboriginal right to ownership but the settler claimed the white “squatter’s right.” During their argument, the settler shot Cultus Jim through his heart but was never charged for his cold blooded crime. During the dispossession of the Sinixt similar encounters must have been frequent, though few have been recorded.

Silversmith mine, Sandon, Slocan Valley, c. 1900.
Photo: BC Archives The scarcity of habitable land in the Columbia, Slocan and Kootenay Lake valleys resulted in violent clashes between the immigrant settlers and the aboriginal inhabitants. No settler ever negotiated land rights with the Sinixt and many simply squatted on the land to claim the “white man’s ownership” recognized by the government.
The Slocan Valley remained isolated up until the discovery of silver deposits in 1891. Boomtowns such as Sandon (left) were established attracting thousands of newcomers eager to make a quick buck. These were wild and violent places where Sinixt people were not welcome. Around the mines, the land was razed in every direction, ancient forests were cut down and burned; and the waters were poisoned by mining wastes.

See virtual panoramas of Sandon and Kootenay Lake. In the 1890s, to serve the large number of settlers and miners moving into the West Kootenay, a transportation network of railways, roads and steamboat shipping routes was set up. The SS Rossland (right) serviced the new mining and logging camps that were set up on Lower Arrow Lake.

Edgewood Lumber Company, Castlegar, c. 1910.
Photo: BC Archives
SS Rossland, Lower Arrow Lake, c. 1911.
Photo: British Columbia Archives
Hundreds of sawmills produced vast amounts of wood for construction and fuel for ore smelters. The Arrow and Kootenay Lakes were quickly deforested. When the Edgewood Lumber Co. (left) ran out of trees at its Lower Arrow Lake location, it moved down the Columbia River to Castlegar where continued to destroy the ancient forests.

The deforestation of the West Kootenay was catastrophic. Within a century, entire forests had been ravaged by the logging industry, leaving the Sinixt without their traditional hunting and harvesting grounds on which they depended. “This was a Paradise. We had no hell, just a happy hunting ground. They made it hell for us … When they landed here, they landed in heaven, and look what they did to it” Robert Watt, appointed Vallican caretaker, Sinixt Nation.
The western white pine (Pinus monticola) thrived in the Inland Rainforest of BC prior to the invasion by Europeans. The Sinixt word for the tree is “tl’i7álekw” which means “bark canoe wood.” To cover the frame of a canoe, the Sinixt stripped the thin yet flexible bark off the heartwood of mature white pine in one sheet, a sustainable form of harvesting that left the tree living.
Early loggers (right) felled the veteran white pines by hand using two-man cross cut saws and broad-axes. Later, power saws, diesel machinery and logging trucks facilitated massive clearcutting operations. Ancient white pines supplied industries such as the Powell Match Block Factory in Nelson from 1918 to 1960. Today these magnificent trees, so important to Sinxt culture, are gone from the landscape.
Logger felling white pine near Chase, 1915.
Photo: BC Archives

Cominco smelter on the Columbia River, Trail, c. 1934.
Photo: BC Archives
To provide Cominco Ltd. with more power, the Waneta Dam was expanded in 2003. Today a new 435 MW generator at Waneta is under review (right). See: Waneta Hydroelectric. The Waneta site is of cultural significance to the Sinixt: a village known as nkw’lila7 existed prior to the 1900s and a salmon fishery existed prior to the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam in c. 1940. See: Randy Bouchard and Dorothy Kennedy: First Nations’ Aboriginal Interests.
Whole valleys were denuded of trees to provide fuel for ore smelters. The Cominco smelter (left) was built in 1896 on the site of a traditional Sinixt village, now the town of Trail. Today it is the world’s largest zinc and lead smelting complex. See a panorama showing how it dominates Trail: Cedar Ave and the Cominco Smelter. During its first 100 years of operation, Cominco Ltd. dumped c. 13.4 million tons of polluted slag including highly toxic concentrates of mercury and other heavy metals into the Columbia River.

Proposed Waneta dam expansion site, 2005.
Source: Waneta Expansion Power Corporation

During the past century, no less than 15 major dams and generating stations have been built in the West Kootenay, including Bonnington Dam (1898); Revelstoke Dam (1910); Brilliant Dam (1944) and Waneta Dam (1954). These dams are part of the largest hydroelectric system in the world, centered on the Columbia Basin. In 1957, one year after the Sinixt had been declared extinct, Canada signed the Columbia River Treaty which provided the US with vast water and energy resources. New engineering projects in BC included the Mica, Duncan and Keenleyside dams.
Hugh Keenleyside Dam inundated the Arrow Lakes in 1968. Out of a total of 152 archaeological sites recorded on the Arrow Lakes, only 12 remained above the high water level. The tragic result was that virtually all of the ancient Sinixt villages and burial sites, some of them thousands of years old, were obliterated forever. Brilliant Dam is currently expanding its power plant (right). Built originally by Cominco and now owned by BC Hydro, this dam is located near the ancient Sinixt trading site and village of kp’ítl’els.
Brilliant Dam.
Photo: Columbia Power Corporation

Nemo Falls, Slocan Lake.
Photo: R. Spiess The Brilliant Dam is located on the Kootenay River, just upstream from its confluence with the Columbia River (above). This is the Sinixt site of kp’ítl’els, where archaeological evidence dates about 5,000 years. kp’ítl’els was proposed as a reserve for the Sinixt in 1861, but instead it was pre-empted in 1912 and sold to Doukhobor settlers who renamed it “Brilliant” and ploughed up the Sinixt burial grounds.
Today in the Kootenays there are few remaining natural cascades such as Nemo Falls (left). Dams have caused irreparable damage to the aboriginal fisheries. See: Center for Columbia River History and the Columbia Kootenay Fisheries Renewal. Old-timers remember trophy sized sturgeon over 10 feet in length and up to 750 lbs in weight. See the record breaking 255 lb white sturgeon captured on the Kootenay River near the Brilliant Dam: Upper Columbia White Sturgeon.

The failure of the BC government to establish a reserve at kp’itl’els resulted in the exile of many Sinixt people. By 1900, Baptiste Christian and his family were among the few Sinixt survivors still living here. Time and time again Baptiste and his brother Alexander Christian (right) asserted their ancestral rights to kp’itl’els and expressed their deeply felt attachment to it.
In 1914, Alex Christian pleaded unsuccessfully to the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs to be allowed to remain at his home in kp’itl’els: “I wish to state that I was born there and have made that place my headquarters during my entire life. Also my ancestors have belonged to there as far back as I can trace. Both of my parents were born there and three of my grandparents … I want to stay in the home where I have always been and want that I have a piece of land made secure for me … I also ask that the graveyards of my people be fenced and preserved from desecration.”
Some years later Alex Christian was murdered while trying to protect his home at kp’itl’els. His wife and children fled and neither his murderer nor the murderer of his sister in 1911 – also at kp’itl’els – was ever brought to justice.
Alex Christian (“Indian Alex”), 1914.
Photo: Canadian Museum of Civilization (J. Teit)

Totem pole next to the Credit Union building, Edgewood, 2005.
Photo: Jutta Ploessner
Log dump at Edgewood, Lower Arrow Lake.
Photo: Jutta Ploessner
“Most of the Sinixt traditional villages and burial grounds were flooded with the damming of the Arrow Lakes. We know of only one monument to the Sinixt. In the town of Edgewood, there is a totem pole [left] that was erected in the late 1960’s. It was commissioned by British Columbia Hydro as a commemorative to an extinct race … Totem poles were made by Haida natives and never the Sinixt. But beyond this fact is the reality that the Sinixt are not extinct” Sinixt Nation.

No archaeological studies were done on the ancient village and burial sites of the Arrow Lakes prior to inundation in 1968. See two virtual panoramas of the Arrow Lakes. This heartland of Sinixt Territory included fisheries, hunting grounds, berry harvesting places, culturally modified trees and pictograph sites. In just 100 years, all has disappeared with settlement, mining, deforestation, road building and dam construction. Today annual cycling of water levels upturns archaeological artifacts such as arrowheads and knives, granite pounders, drift net weights, stone scrapers, crushers and drills. Edgewood especially was a vital Sinixt trading site and countless artifacts have been privately collected here. See: Inonoaklin Valley Virtual Museum.

Arrowhead found near Edgewood.
Photo: Inonoaklin Valley Virtual Museum

James Bernard was a Sinixt Chief in the Kelly Hills area near Colville for over 30 years (right). His message to those who took so much from his people: “It is for me to say that you white men, when you came here and landed, you came on a little piece of bark, and with a few sticks tied together, and a few of you on it. You found us that day in plenty; you had nothing. You did not bring your wealth with you.”
Chief Bernard died in 1934. During his lifetime, he witnessed the environmental devastation of Sinixt Territory caused by the invasion of settlers: “Before the coming of the white man, our resources on this continent, if we could sum it up, had a value we could never put into figures and dollars. Our forests were full of wild game; our valleys covered with tall grass; we had camas, huckleberries and bitter root, and wild flowers of all kinds. When I walked out under the stars, the air was filled with the perfume of the wild flowers. In those days, the Indians were happy, and they danced day and night, enjoying the wealth created by the Almighty God for the Indian’s use as long as he lived.”
Sinixt Chief James Bernard, c. 1930.
Photo: Smithsonian Institution


On the anniversary of the death of Chief Lhatsas a Tsilhqotin War Song is being performed at Fish Trap in Tsilhqotin Territory on 26 October 2003. “We Meant War, Not Murder” protested Tsilhquotin Chief Lhatsas when he was sentenced in 1864 and executed by the colonial invaders. Photo: Liam Haggerty

“Chief White Hawk in the Big Hollow Tree, Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada.” This commercial postcard from the 1930s is staged and depicts a model. The real Chief White Hawk was a Nes Perce warrior who accompanied Chief Joseph when in 1877 he led his surviving people on an escape from the US Army to Canada. The postcard image misrepresented him by accommodating white preconceptions. | Indian Land | Misrepresented

“The Artist Painting a Chief.”
Engraving by George Catlin, 1841 George Catlin’s “North American Indians” was the most widely read 19th century American travel book. First published in 1841, it went through many new editions and reprinting’s. Catlin’s 300 documentary engravings were essential to the popularity of his book. The frontispiece is entitled “The author painting a chief at the base of the Rocky Mountains” (left). Here Catlin is seen painting the portrait of a chief as part of his intent to preserve a record of the Indians in their “wild and unsophisticated state” from the “uncivilized regions of their uninvaded country.” Catlin is featured in the virtual exhibition “The Illustrating Traveler” organized by the Beineke Library at Yale University: Encountering Native Americans.
The exhibit George Catlin and His Indian Gallery was organized in 2002 by the Smithsonian Institution. Its companion book is introduced by W. Richard West, director of the National Museum of the American Indian: “A native person is challenged … not to feel on some level a profound resentment toward Catlin; his obsession with depicting Indians has an extremely invasive undertone to it …. [But] Catlin placed great value on Indians and their cultures, revealing genuine concern at how they were being systematically stressed or destroyed by non – Indians. No artist could so passionately pour himself into his work the way Catlin did without having sincere respect and affection for the subjects of his work.”

The Bancroft Library (University of California – Berkeley) presented the digital exhibit “Images of Native Americans” from its collections in 2006 (right). “Are the images an accurate portrayal of Native Americans? Do the illustrations represent a mis-interpreted view of American Indians by a white society? Is it possible to distinguish between the perceptions of the individuals who created and viewed these images years ago and present – day understanding of these same images? Do these images tell us more about the creators of such works than they reveal about the individuals depicted?” Images of Native Americans.

“Legacy and Legend,” 2007.
Photo: Huntington Library
“Images of Native Americans,” 2006.
Photo: Bancroft Library
The Huntington Library in Pasadena, California, staged the 2007 exhibit “Legacy and Legend” from its collections (left). “For centuries, European trained artists created art for audiences that knew little about Indians, and so their images often romanticized them and focused on the more dramatic … on native American men as exotic and grand, living freely in nature, unconstrained by government or religion … Women are hardly seen, even though many tribes were matrilineal and women held important roles in government” Legacy and Legend.

The Goettingen State and University Library organized an exhibit of photographs by Edward Sheriff Curtis in 2004, “The North American Indian” (right). “His photographic oeuvre not only ties in with our traditional idea of the North American Indian, but has largely moulded this notion. Curtis’ photographs show Indians as they might once have been – or, rather, as we might wish them to have been” Hans Christian Adam: Die Indianer Nordamerikas. The exhibition was staged in Pauliner Church: Die Paulinerkirche.
In Germany and Europe, North American Indians have been misrepresented as Noble Savages, while in the US and Canada, images of Indians are rooted in the recent colonial past and reflect the settlers’ derogation of aboriginal people whose land they robbed. “The contradictory stories non – Natives tell about Imaginary Indians are really stories about themselves and the uncertainties that make up their cultural heritage” (Daniel Francis, The Imaginary Indian, 1992).
Exhibit at Goettingen University Library.
Photo: Karen Wonders

“Justice,” BC Legislature.
Mural by George Stockwell, 1935
The mural “Enterprise” shows the landing of the first white entrepreneurs on Salish Territory (right) and “Courage” depicts the first encounter between the Nootka people and two British sea captains (below right). The most controversial mural is “Labour” (below left). It shows the construction of Fort Victoria in 1843 by bare breasted Indian woman working under the command of white men. Aboriginal leaders in BC have called this painting “highly offensive, demeaning and degrading to First Nations people in the province.” A government report (28 March 2001) recommended the removal of the four murals. Four murals were commissioned in 1932 for the rotunda of the BC Legislature to illustrate Courage, Enterprise, Labour and Justice; “the historical qualities necessary for the establishment of a civilization.” According to the artist, the “Justice” mural was to show how the first colonial judge had “pacified” some “troublesome Indians who threatened war on the whites” (left). In fact, Chief Klatsassin and five Tsilhqot’in warriors were sentenced to death and hanged on 26 October 1864. The memory of this travesty of justice is kept alive by the Tsilhqot’in people who every year mark the anniversary date of the hanging.

“Enterprise,” BC Legislature.
Mural by George Stockwell, 1935

“For many years, many aboriginal and non-aboriginal people have found the images and message of the murals to be not only disturbing but offensive and hurtful. The value of the art and the historical accuracy of the murals are less important than the hurt they cause others” (A Review of the Depiction of Aboriginal Peoples in the Artworks of the Parliament Buildings, 2001). Six years later, on 24 April 2007, a parliamentary motion was passed to remove the four offensive murals from the Legislature. See: Artworks Debate (Hansard Report).

“Labour,” BC Legislature.
Mural by George Stockwell, 1935
“Courage,” BC Legislature.
Mural by George Stockwell, 1935
Words like “reconciliation” and “new relationship” are cynically cast about by the BC government without substantive action to make up for historic injustice. Removing the four murals is an empty public relations act that does nothing to lift the yoke of subjugation from the shoulders of indigenous peoples. The granddaughter of the artist who painted them says “jackhammering the murals off the walls of the rotunda will not atone for the past wrongs to alleviate the social injustices afflicting BC’s first nations.”

Legislature mural rotunda, 2007.
Victoria, British Columbia On 1 October 2007, Stó:lo Steven Point, one of Canada’s few First Nation judges, was appointed the new lieutenant governor of British Columbia, becoming the first indigenous person to represent the Queen in the 150 years of the former British colony. The occasion was marked by an elaborate ceremony in the BC Legislature. Significantly, the four historical murals on the ground level of the rotunda which commemorate white supremacy were covered up – a meek admission by the government of the shameful history of colonization as late as 1935, when the murals by George Southwell were completed (left).
Not covered up were four iconic scenes in the cupola above the rotunda: Fishing, Forestry, Mining and Farming (i.e. Development). This is shockingly revealing as no amount of damage done by these industries to the survival of indigenous communities and culture has ever kept the BC government from pursuing its historic policy of land grabs and resource exploitation.

“Medicine Mask Dance” of the Esquimalt Indians near Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island. Painting by Paul Kane, 1848.
Location: Royal Ontario Museum

A Chehalis woman and man standing in front of a massive cedar stump, the remains of an ancient forest on the Harrison River that was logged and cleared for agricultural land by settlers. The photo was taken in 1867 during the Caribou Gold Rush, the first large scale colonial invasion by Euro Americans. Millions followed and the indigenous peoples were disposed of their land and cultures. Photo: BC Archives | Indian Land | Disinherited

Disinherited Re-iconization

The Legislature in Victoria, capital city of the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC), was completed in 1898, three years before the death of Queen Victoria. The palatial building is fronted by a huge sculpture of the monarch herself, symbolizing British sovereign rule and indirectly symbolizing also the disinheriting of the indigenous inhabitants (right). Indeed the BC Legislature was illegally built on stolen Salish land and remained the object of a court case that was not resolved until 2006. The historic usurping of Indian land by white settlers is unashamedly celebrated inside the central cupola where we see an iconography of the subjugation of the indigenous peoples of BC and the systematic theft of their natural resources (below).

Cupola murals: Fishing (left) and Forestry (right).
BC Legislature
Queen Victoria statue, BC Legislature.
BC Legislature

“Fishing,” BC Legislature.
Mural by George Southwell, 1935
The cupola’s mural “Forestry” depicts a white man cutting down a giant cedar tree (right). This illustration is also a striking example of commercial appropriation whereby ancient forests, long stewarded by indigenous peoples, became the exclusive property of the colonists. Disinherited of their lands and resources, the natives have had no part in the colonial Euro American exploitation of British Columbia. The motto inscribed in the cupola “Splendor Sine Occasu” (splendour without sunset or end) epitomizes the colonialist creed of greed, which destroys nature and makes waste of the natural resources while dispossessing First Nations. The motto is ichnographically developed by a series of four large historical murals (Courage – Enterprise – Labour – Justice) at ground level in which the indigenous peoples are misrepresented while the colonialists are made heros. The four iconic murals in the cupola represent the four primary industries by which the colonists profited: Fishing, Forestry, Mining and Farming. The murals were completed in 1935 as part of an elaborate scheme to illustrate the history of BC. “Fishing” shows three white men hauling up a net of salmon (left). This illustration is a prime example of commercial profiteering and industrial wealth production whereby the most vital indigenous resource – abundant wild salmon – becomes the possession of the colonial invaders.

“Forestry,” BC Legislature.
Mural by George Southwell, 1935

Cultural Theft
Colonization disinherited First Nations not only of their lands and resources, but also of their cultural heritage. Sacred relics, ceremonial objects, family heirlooms, personal items, household wares and so on were pilfered and sold. Even burial sites were desecrated and ancestral remains collected and traded. Traditional knowledge too, much of it unwritten and oral, recorded by non-natives, was taken away and has become lost to indigenous families and communities.
Ethnology displays at many of the world’s major museums contain art and artifacts looted by collectors who paid a pittance while they “nickel-and-dimed” the impoverished indigenous owners and robbed them of their cultural heritage. The Northwest Coast collection at the German Museum of Ethnology in Berlin is one such example and contains many important historic pieces from First Nations communities in BC. Some of the artifacts in this collection were depicted as trophies in the illustration “Indian Culture” published in the Encyclopedia Meyers Konversations Lexikon in 1897 (right). In contrast to the earlier era of quasi ethical collecting, today in Canada the protection and repatriation of indigenous artifacts and native heritage is being researched according to First Nations concepts of property and law. See: First Nation Cultural Heritage (University of Alberta); and Intellectual Property Issues (Simon Fraser University).
“Indianische Kultur.”
Meyers Konv. Lexikon, 1894

The Nuxalk Echo mask provides a remarkable instance of an indigenous community acting as a collective to preserve its cultural legacy. Echo (sats’alan) is a supernatural creature central to the Nuxalk origin story. He is represented by a dancer who sings while performing a choreography using the interchangeable mouth parts of the Echo mask. Nuxalk informant Captain Schooner is seen wearing the mask in a lantern slide taken by Canadian government archaeologist Harlan Smith while he was in Bella Coola c. 1920 (right). Believed to be about 140 years old, the valuable Echo mask was passed down through the generations until 1955, when it was surreptitiously acquired by a Victoria dealer in Indian artifacts. To prevent its removal from the Bella Coola community, the Nuxalk people mobilized, using federal legislation. See: Movable Cultural Property Program.
The ways in which the Echo mask is wrapped in complex layers of interpretation is described by Jennifer Kramer: Figurative Repatriation (Journal for Material Culture).
Echo Mask, Bella Coola, c. 1920.
Photo by Harlan Smith

Frog House of Klukwan, c. 1895.
Photo: Alaska’s State Library (Winter & Pond)
In 1984, the Seattle dealer Michael Johnson illicitly acquired artifacts from the Whale House at Klukwan, one of the most magnificent monuments of Northwest Coast art (right and below). The sale ignited a fierce battle over the Chilkat birthright, being an example of how the unethical trade in indigenous property traumatizes vulnerable communities. See the investigative report by Marilee Enge (Alaska Native Knowledge Network): The Sale of the Whale House Legacy .
Unscrupulous dealing in Northwest Coast artifacts has been going on ever since the late 19th century when the classic ethnology studies by Franz Boas created a lucrative commercial market for both private and museum collecting. Originally most Indian artifacts were displayed in natural history museums or traded as “curios,” but by the turn of the century they had also become valuable as works of art. The buyer of the Nuxalk Echo mask was the well-known dealer Howard Roloff, who had been implicated in the controversial purchase of Tlingit artifacts in 1976. The artifacts came from the communal Frog House of the Chilkat clan in Klukwan, Alaska. House post poles and other artifacts from Frog House were featured in a Winter & Pond postcard, c. 1895, along with a young Tlingit girl in a button blanket (left). Over the years, many valuable artifacts disappeared from Frog House and were sold. The scandal of the 1976 sale caused a furore in Klukwan, and village leaders vowed “never to sell our artifacts and to protect those within our possession.”

Whale House of Klukwan, c. 1967
Photo by Adelaide de Menil

“Interior of Chief Klart-Reech’s House, Chilkat, Alaska.” Whale House at Klukwan, c. 1895.
Photo: Alaska’s State Library (Winter & Pond)

Kwakiutl mugs and bowls collected at Fort Rupert (Tsaxis) by F. Boas, c. 1894.
Franz Boas, Kwakiult Society

Royal BC Museum (left), exhibit poster (right), 2007.
Photos: Karen Wonders
Shamefully, both the governments of Canada and BC failed to come up with funds to purchase the Dundas collection. As a result, it was auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York in October 2006, selling at a record price for native North American art. Tsimshian James Bryant, a spokesman for the hereditary chiefs of the Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla, asserts that the Dundas collection belongs to the Tsimshian people. He says: “Two levels of government can’t even pay us for the land they took for nothing. Now they are putting a big value on our artifacts” H. Ramsey, The Dundas Collection (Northword). The Royal BC Museum’s “Treasures of the Tsimshian” was a public relations fiasco because it featured objects that were widely perceived as stolen. This issue was ignored in the only positive exhibit review to appear – on the government owned website of the “Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC,” a group that promotes First Nations culture for profit. Tsimshian cultural artifacts and ceremonial objects are at the centre of a current controversy over cultural theft. “Treasures of the Tsimshian” was an exhibit organized by the Royal BC Museum in 2007 to display some exceptionally fine examples of Northwest Coast culture (left). Many of these objects belonged to Tsimshian Chief Paul Legaic, who was forced to surrender his family heirlooms at the native village of Metlakatla in 1863 as a prerequisite to his conversion to Christianity. They were collected by William Duncan, one of the first missionaries in BC, and soon after given to his colleague, Robert Dundas, a visiting clergyman who returned home to Scotland with them. For the past 150 years, the Tsimshian collection was held privately in Britain by descendants of Dundas.

Tsimshian mask, c. 1863. Dundas Collection.
Photo: Frank Tancredi

“Selling Sacred”
European contact wiped out many traditional First Nations societies and turned the surviving ones upside down while pillaging their material culture, often in the name of salvage anthropology. Today the robbery continues apace, belying government rhetoric to the contrary. On Canada Day 2007 in Victoria, capital city of British Columbia (BC), a commercial display called “Window to the Spirit World of the Canoe People: Exhibition and Sale of Traditional Salish Art and Artifacts” opened at the Out of the Mist Gallery. Coast Salish – Songhees First Nations activist Cheryl Bryce asks the gallery owner if he is “selling sacred.” She regards the public display and selling of stolen indigenous objects that are private and sacred as unethical, and she says the gallery owner must prove that the artifacts are not stolen:

“How did you acquire all of these sacred cultural ceremonial masks and other regalia of the Salish people? How did you accumulate these artifacts? They are supposed to be protected under the BC Heritage Conservation Act. Indigenous people can tell you and most other settlers can tell you what has happened to sacred sites and significant cultural regalia over the past 150 years. Who do you think you are fooling? Who gave you permission to exhibit and exploit cultural practices? Who is certifying the artifacts as authentic – an archaeologist or so called ‘Indian expert’?” Cheryl Bryce, 1 July 2007, Letter to Tom Stark.

Protest outside Out of the Mist Gallery, 1 July 2007.
Victoria, British Columbia
“Selling Sacred.”
Victoria, British Columbia

Protest outside gallery, July 2007.
Victoria, British Columbia
Gallery poster, 1 July 2007.
Victoria, British Columbia

The pillaging of indigenous cultures included the desecration of sacred sites and burial grounds. Traditional burial practices, often combined with Christian customs, marked the graves with carved wooden monuments and offerings for the dead. As a result of the horrendous loss of life caused by European introduced diseases during the early period of colonization, burial sites multiplied. These were routinely looted by collectors of Indian curios, including churchmen and government officials. The first Indian Agent at Bella Coola, a Norwegian settler and school teacher called Iver Fougner, was such a trader and he sold the eagle sepulchral monument for the casket of a small Nuxalk child to the American Museum of Natural History (right).
“Bella Coola Indian grave box,” c. 1909.
Photo: Archives Canada (Harlan Smith)

Grave monument collected by F. Boas, c. 1884.
F. Boas, The Kwakiutl Indians, 1897 Another Northwest Coast sepulchral object deposited at the American Museum of Natural History is “Ho’Xhok” from Tsaxis (Fort Rupert). A photo of it appears in the 1896 book on the Kwakiutl by Franz Boas (left). The inscription reads: “This monument is six feet in height and was carved from red cedar bark. On the stomach of the bird is a carving representing a face. Originally the wings were painted in black, representing feathers, but only faint traces of color now remain.”

Unfortunately no legislation exists in Canada similar to the US Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990). As a result, rules for ethical First Nations conduct have yet to be formulated, leaving archaeologists free to ignore the need for protection of native cultural heritage from the ravages of resource extraction and real estate development.

Woodpecker-shaped medicine rattle. Collected by BC’s first Indian Agent (Israel Wood Powell) in 1879 at Bella Coola.
Photo: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Commercial Appropriation
The commercial appropriation of First Nations peoples and cultures is omnipresent in western Canada and the US, although it tends to be more subtle today than in earlier times. A fruit box label from the 1930s shows how images of Indians were used to sell products like apples, a settler introduced crop raised on stolen agricultural land with no traditional or economic value to the indigenous peoples.

Salmon can label, c. 1910.
Photo: BC Archives
Apple box label, c. 1930.
Photo: University of Washington
A salmon can label printed c. 1910 shows how an Indian warrior is used to sell salmon produced by the BC Packing Company (left). This company dominated the BC fishing industry for over a century, yet its huge profits were not shared with the indigenous owners of the fishing grounds who were banned from taking part in their birthright.

Cowichan tribal territories on Vancouver Island were once home to the biggest trees in the world. Settlers invaded in 1848 and founded the town of Duncan in 1888. Its primary industry was forestry and as a result, the Cowichan lands were clearcut logged – including the ancient cedars needed to carve totem poles. Ironically, to stimulate tourism, Duncan now promotes itself as a “City of Totems” (right). To date, it has commissioned some 80 poles by native artists (who find it increasingly difficult to locate big enough cedar trees in BC to carve). In 2007, local officials decided to copyright the totem poles in order to profit from the commercial sale of their images. But the totem pole carvers do not share in these copyright profits, another case whereby First Nations culture is claimed by non-natives who reap the benefits.

Native motif for non-native helicopter business.
Photo: Bella Coola Heli Sports
Oxymoronic welcome sign, Duncan, BC.
Photo: Karen Wonders
Northwest Coast motifs are routinely taken out of their original mythological context and used against First Nations. An example of this sort of subversion is the logo for the Bella Coola Heli Sports Company which is based on a traditional eagle motif (right). This company operates in Nuxalk Territory against the House of Smayusta, which accuses the company of disrespecting and degrading the sacred Nuxalk mountains.

The company’s Swedish owner, Peter Mattsson, brags that Bella Coola is the new Whistler – an untouched wilderness paradise with “two million acres of world class ski terrain.” In truth, this is contested Indian land, tenured to Mattsson by the BC government as part of its unethical and underhanded practice of promoting winter sport development to circumvent Aboriginal Title.

“Haida Brave,” self-dumping log barge.
Photo: Kingcome Company (text added) A further blatant example of commercial appropriation of First Nations is provided by the Kingcome Company. Its log barge fleet boasts vessels with names like “Haida Brave” (left), “Haida Monarch,” “Haida Transporter,” and the tug “Haida Warrior.” With a cargo capacity of 11,000 cubic meters of raw logs, “Haida Brave” facilitates profiteering by the transnational forest industry. To protest against the clearcut logging of the irreplaceable ancient forests of Haida Gwaii, Haida warriors set out in a cedar canoe. On 1 August 1996, they prevented “Haida Brave,” the world’s largest logging barge, from proceeding through Masset Inlet with its cargo of old growth cedars. The Haida demanded to know: “How Many Canoes Are On That Black Ship?” See Spruceroots: Learning To Open Our Eyes Wide. An eye witness to the event was the Rocking Raven Haida artist and political activist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas.

Also the regalia and ceremonial practices of First Nations are often appropriated by non-natives for commercial purposes. Among the most frequent offenders are government officials anxious to serve their big business sponsors. On the right is a threesome of Anglo Dutch descent politicians dressed up and taking part in various government ceremonies. From the left: Mike De Jong, BC Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (2007); Tom Christensen, BC Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (2006); and Pat Bell, BC Minister of Agriculture and Lands (2007).
Such ridiculous spectacles highlight the longstanding cynical practice by the colonial rulers to cover up their systemic theft of the possessions of First Nations by seeming to pay tribute to native culture through public acts of Euro – Indigenous conflation. Today we see this seductive form of appropriation on display in the innumerable public relations photos flaunted on the websites of the Canadian and BC governments.
White BC politicians appropriating native regalia.
Photos: BC government (collage)

First Nations website banner. (text added)
Screenshot: A glut of deceptive “First Nations” websites has flooded the Internet (left). These are commercial productions by the BC government to stimulate big business in conjunction with the 2010 Whistler – Vancouver Winter Olympics. Empty rhetoric and disingenuous imagery of Indians and Nature are used to promote corporate investment while concealing the government’s dismal record of aboriginal relations and nature protection.

A crude case of commercial appropriation was also a cheap shot at the Bella Coola Indians, the people of Nuxalk Nation. The Bella Coola “Spirit Tree” (right) was the centrepiece of BC Canada Place at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. A giant cedar log from Bella Coola and a Bella Coola raven mask carved in red cedar were used to promote BC’s 2010 Winter Olympics. According to BC government media hype, Bella Coola “figures” in this Olympics “because it was the original home of the 240 year old ‘Spirit Tree’ that is supposed to bring good luck to those who touch it.”
The BC government’s newly formulated sales motto “Super, natural BC means big business” was presented to the world at Torino in 2006. Taking a prominent role was BC Wood, an international lobby group for wood products (i.e. the forest industry). Due to BC Wood’s inordinate economic power, the environmental battle to stop the extermination of last giant trees in BC has been all but lost. Nowhere in the “live, work and play” selling of BC is there an admission of the tragic loss of biodiversity caused by big business and how this is paralleled by the abuse of Aboriginal Title and Rights. The BC Canada Place website provides no information about the brilliant and world renowned indigenous Bella Coola (Nuxalk) culture. No recognition is given to the Nuxalk people, many of them elders, who have courageously defended their land – Nuxalk Territory – against the relentless pillaging by logging companies operating with full government complicity.
Bella Coola cedar and mask, Torino, 2006.
Photo: BC government

Ecological Stewards
Elder Harriet Nahanee being arrested by the Vancouver police at Eagleridge Bluffs on 25 May 2006 as she cites her Indian rights under the 1763 Royal Proclamation. Some First Nations people such as Harriet have a traditional role as ecological stewards. In 2007 she was unjustly jailed for blockading the American company Peter Kiewit & Sons to prevent it from destroying Eagleridge Bluffs. Photo: Christopher Grabowski | Indian Land | Ecological Stewards

Ecological Stewards Harriet Nahanee

“Inhabitants of the Ilse of Sitkha on the Northwest Coast,” 1827. Engraving by F. H. Kittlitz.
F. P. Litke, Voyage autour du monde, 1835

Haida chiefs protesting in December 2000 at the office of the British Columbia Ministry of Forestry in Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii: “Thanks for the Memories” and “Stumps R Us.” From the left: Chief Sgaann 7wi7w, Old Massett Chief, Councillor Ron Brown Jr, Chief Iiljuwaas, Chief Skidegate. Photo: Council of the Haida Nation | Forestry

Forestry Kwakiutl Protest

Ancient Pacheedaht Forests – 1926 to 2007 – Stolen and Destroyed
By Sustained Exploitation: From Logging Camp to Real Estate Lifestyle Lot

1 – “Fallers Making An Undercut”
BC Forestry Service – 1926 2 – “Falled Tree and Men”
BC Forestry Service – 1926 3 – Government Fallers
BC Forestry Service – 1940

4 – Ancient Mothers – Douglas firs
Photo by Tim Ennis – 2007 5 – New Logging Road
TimberWest cutblock – 2007 6 – Old Growth Timber
TimberWest log dump – 2007

7 – Clearcut logged
TimberWest – 2007 8 – Clearcut logged
TimberWest – 2007 9 – Industrial Tree Plantation
Jordan River – 2004

10 – Logging Road for Tourists
Port Renfrew Highway – 2007 11 – Wildwood Lifestyle Lots
Photo by John Harvey – 2006 12 – Stump of a Logged Tree
Pacheedaht Beach – 2007

Members of the Council of the Haida Nation blockading a road on Haida Gwaii as part of their “Islands Spirit Rising” protest against the BC Ministry of Forests and Weyerhaeuser in 2005: Enough is Enough; Stop High grading Cedar; There is No Honour Among Thieves. Photo: Council of the Haida Nation | Forestry | Haida

Haida Gwaii Haanas Islands Spirit Rising

First Nations and non-natives protesting at the BC Legislature in 1985 against the industrial logging of Meares Island in Clayoquot Sound, homeland of Tlaoquiaht First Nation. A traditional 27 foot red cedar welcome figure carved by Tlaoquiaht Joe David expressed the indigenous demand: “Total preservation of Meares Island based on TITLE and survival of our Native way of life.” Photo: Robert Soderlund

Nuxalk activists and their supporters blockading a logging road at Ista on King Island in 1997 under the banner “Protect the Great Bear Rainforest.” The Nuxalk are protesting against Interfor’s clearcut logging and desecration of the sanctity of their place of origin. Armed RCMP officers (in dark blue) are moving in to make arrests. Photo: Nuxalk House of Smayusta | Forestry | Nuxalk

Nuxalk Talyumc Nutl’l Kwalhtna Qomqots Bella Coola on Tour

“The Nuxalk Nation has been occupying and exercising our rights on the lands, water and resources of our Ancestral Territory since time immemorial. What is now known as the Nuxalk Nation is a mixture of many villages that were distributed throughout Ancestral Nuxalk territory, including the four largest villages of Talyumc to the south, Nutl’l (Kimsquit) to the north, Kwalhtna to the west and Qomqots to the east” Nuxalk Nation.
The Nuxalk (pronounced “new – hawk”) people are well known outside Canada, especially in Germany, where Nuxalk performers toured in 1885 and 1886, famously inspiring the founder of American ethnology Franz Boas to embark on his Northwest Coast studies. Today in Europe the Nuxalk are best known for their protests against the destruction of their forests and natural resources and for asserting their Aboriginal Title and Rights as a sovereign people who have never ceded or relinquished their homeland (right).
Nuxalk Territory (blue).
Photo: Nuxalk Nation

Archived Copy: Nuxalk House of Smayusta
Among the European environmental and human rights groups to respond to the Nuxalk call for support was the German activist network AKU which highlights the Nuxalk’s battle to save their ancient culture from the chainsaws of the logging industry: Kultur statt Kettensaegen. In 2006, a decade after the Nuxalk began the Ista protest, the Great Bear Rainforest protection deal was made. AKU, in its rendering of the official map, exposes this deal (right). The red areas have no protection – almost 70 per cent of the total land base. Shockingly, Ista and the four primary locations of Nuxalk heritage – Talyumc – Nutl’l – Kwalhtna – Qomqots – are located in red areas with no protection and no recognition of Nuxalk territorial sovereignty (far right). The Nuxalk House of Smayusta is a path breaking traditional First Nations government and activist organization that has done much to illuminate indigenous rights issues in British Columbia (BC) for the outside world. Its website documents the Nuxalk stands made against the exploitation of their lands and waters by logging, mining and fish farms from 1995 to 2003 (left). When Interfor (International Forest Products Ltd.) invaded Ista, the religious place of origin of the Nuxalk, it was the last straw of violation: “We can no longer stand by and watch logging corporations destroying our old Nuxalk villages, hunting grounds, fishing grounds, grave sites and sacred areas” Nuxalk Special Flyer (10 September 1995). Many Nuxalk protesters were arrested for defending Ista, including Chief Qwatsinas (left).

Great Bear Rainforest, 2006.
Map additions: AKU & K. Wonders

Nuxalk Timeline
1995 to 2003
Protests – Arrests – Incarcerations
Nuxalk House of Smayusta
1995 Nuxalk Logging Protests – Arrests
10 Sep Nuxalk protesters served with injunction
for blockading Interfor at Ista
16 Sep Nuxalk greet their Heiltsuk neighbours
and supporters at Ista
26 Sep 22 arrests at Ista including four Nuxalk. All were flown to Vancouver for incarceration
27 Sep Statements by Hereditary Chiefs:
Nuximlayc – Qwatsinas – Slicxwliqw’
1996 Nuxalk Logging Protests – Arrests
21 Mar Seventeen Nuxalk arrested in Bella Coola
including Chief Nuximlayc, spiritual leader
Simon Schooner, elder Arthur Pootlass
and Chief Snuxyaltwa
1997 Nuxalk Logging Protests – Arrests
06 Jun Nuxalk and their non-native supporters
initiate a blockade at Ista against Interfor
and prevent logging for nineteen days
24 Sep Six Nuxalk (Chief Qwatsinas, Emily Johnny,
Harry Schooner, Ernest Tallio, Warren Snow
and Colette Schooner) and fifteen non-natives are arrested at Ista
1998 Nuxalk on Trial – Vancouver
06 Jul Nuxalk reoccupy traditional territory:
03 Oct
10 Oct Six Nuxalk activists (Warren Snow,
Emily Johnny, William Ernest Tallio,
Harry Schooner, Chief Qwatsinas and Colette Schooner) are tried in BC Court:
Virtual Stand at Ista
1999 Nuxalk on Trial – Vancouver
12 Feb Nuxalk sentenced by BC Court
2001 Nuxalk Mining Protests
14 May Nuxalk oppose Polaris project:
Statement of Nuximlayc
2002 Nuxalk Farmed Fish Protests
03 Dec Nuxalk protest Omega fish farm:
Ocean Falls Protest
11 Dec Nuxalk blockade Marine Harvest:
Farmed Fish Truck Stopped
2003 Nuxalk Farmed Fish Protests
15 Jan Nuxalk protest Omega at Ocean Falls:
Atlantic Salmon Hatchery Statements
03 Apr Nuxalk protest farmed salmon:
Safeway Demonstration (Vancouver)
03 Apr Nuxalk protest farmed salmon:
Real Canadian Superstore (Vancouver)
01 May Nuxalk blockade road in Bella Coola:
Illegal Transportation of Farmed Salmon

Land use plans imposed on Nuxalk Territory.
Collage: K. Wonders (click to enlarge)
For the Nuxalk, the Great Bear Rainforest is simply another land management plan imposed on their territory like so many other slick schemes, all without proper indigenous participation. Between 2004 and 2006, for example, there were no fewer than six proposed BC government – industry land use plans that incorporated Nuxalk Territory (above).
Nuxalk member Ray Morton has participated in the defence of Nuxalk heritage by occupying the primaeval valley of Scw7cwlk. Seen in 1997, he stands beside a culturally modified cedar tree that shows how cedars are used in Nuxalk culture (right). In 2007, he helped to organize an indigenous gathering to call attention to the catastrophic loss of a vital Nuxalk food fish: Eulachon Conference. A new Nuxalk generation is trained to manage Nuxalk forests, fisheries and other natural resources, and BC government policies must change to accomodate them and their rights. The above timeline shows the extraordinary effort and personal sacrifice invested by the Nuxalk people in protecting their heritage and lands. Nuxalk member Jacinda Mack, whose 86 year old grandmother “Skuclikwana” was present at Ista, has written about the stand: Nuxalk Articles. She says that the Nuxalk community acknowledges neither the name “Great Bear Rainforest” nor the nature protection concept it represents.

Nuxalk Ray Morton, 2000.
Photo: Nuxalk House of Smayusta

Great Bear Rainforest minus “Nuxalk Lands.”
Graphic: Chief Qwatsinas (red text added)
Chief Qwatsinas, seen in his traditional salmon smokehouse in Bella Coola in July 2007 (right), describes why he and the other principled Nuxalk activists who made a stand at Ista in 1995 and 1997 against Interfor are opposed to coercive deals with government and industry: “I never liked the ransom pay-outs or the hostage and kidnapping of the Great Bear Rainforest. Because our regions were kept economically starved, that does not mean we must keep our sights low in accepting shoddy deals or environmental sacrifices. The ten years of conflict is no excuse for hurrying in accepting this deal, since we are talking about saving thousands of years of nature’s evolution. For the forest industry, it is always a short term victory. For First Nations and the native wildlife – bears, birds and salmon – it is a long term loss.” The Great Bear Rainforest land use plan was agreed on 7 February 2006 and a final map was released. This map was redrawn on 7 July 2007 by House of Smayusta Chief Qwatsinas so that it excludes Nuxalk Lands (left). He explains why the Nuxalk Nation did not take part in negotiations to save the coastal rainforest that resulted in the government – industry touted deal. A government condition, he says, was that the Nuxalk Nation join the BC Treaty Process, a path rejected by the Nuxalk people. Like a majority of First Nations, the Nuxalk condemns this process as yet another colonial device designed to extinguish Aboriginal Title and Rights. For the House of Smayusta, most important is to honour the elders and uphold the tradition to protect their homeland and ensure the survival of their way of life. “For the future of our Children, Grandchildren and Children yet unborn. Nuxalk Strong – Nuxalk Forever.”

Chief Qwatsinas, 7 July 2007.
Photo: Karen Wonders

Redwashing by the Vancouver Sun, 2008.
Graphic: K. Wonders (click for original)
Chief Qwatsinas explains the position taken by the Nuxalk House of Smayusta in 1995 when Interfor began clearcut logging the sacred Valley of Ista, Nuxalknalus. “We aligned ourselves with environmental groups as guests to our ancestral lands to help get the word out to the world and protect our lands … It has been regarded as a protest/ blockade against logging, clearcut logging practices and its impacts; but for us, it was for Nuxalk history, existence, beliefs, and who we are, as a people” Chief Qwatsinas: Statement on Ista (13 February 2008). The photo of Chief Qwatsinas taken in 1997 during the Nuxalk protest at Ista was used in the Vancouver Sun newspaper (left) to announce the official signing of the Great Bear Rainforest deal on 7 February 2008. This is more than crude appropriation: it is a case of disrespect and deceit on behalf of big business and government. See subchapter: Redwashing. Chief Qwatsinas rightly reacted in anger: “I did not like my picture being used in the article and supposedly representing the Nuxalk in the ‘Love – In’ deal. It is misused, misrepresented, and certainly misinterpreted in expressing Nuxalk involvement in these plans. We want to make it very clear that Nuxalk were not involved in the April 4th, 2001 Great Bear Forest deal and did not participate in its conception” Statement to the Press (12 February 2008).

Interfor’s clearcutting of Ista, 1997.
Photo: House of Smayusta (text added)

The desecration of Ista mobilized international activists who converged on Ista in Nuxalk Territory in 1997 where they were witness to the human rights abuses and environmental destruction that are one and the same thing. A decade later and nothing has changed. The logging industry and government propaganda claiming a “love – in of collaboration” with First Nations in 2008 is a devious ploy to marginalize the Nuxalk people and thwart their many sacrifices to protect their lands and heritage (right).

Chief Qwatsinas arrested by RCMP at Ista, 1997.
Photo: Nuxalk House of Smayusta “To clearcut log the valley
of ‘Ista’ is like the tearing
down of other peoples’

“To destroy ‘Ista’ is to
destroy Nuxalk beliefs,
human and Indigenous
rights, and our identity
as a people”
Chief Qwatsinas
Chief Qwatsinas was arrested at Ista in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Assault forces deployed to the remote and inaccessible rainforest location included some 40 Royal Canadian Mounted Police with their helicopters and boats as well as Coast Guard backups. The photo of Chief Qwatsinas being arrested at Ista in 1997 (left) documents a display of excessive police force. As he himself says, he is no “show – and – dance” native whose cooperation can be bought. Rather, Chief Qwatsinas remains a frontline First Nations activist who continues to maintain: “As Nuxalkmc, we have never ceded, treatied, sold, or relinquished our connection to our lands and rights. Our Creator through the Great Spirit put us into these lands to care for and protect; as Nuxalkmc, we are committed to do so” Statement on Ista.

For their just stand on Nuxalk sovereignty, the Nuxalk people have been victimized by court intimidation, incarceration and government engineered economic deprivation. Following the Nuxalk stand at Ista, Interfor clearcut logged the Ista rainforest and in a further act of petty spite, the company and the BC Ministry of Forests moved their offices out of the Bella Coola Valley, causing job losses among the Nuxalk. Since the 2004 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, First Nations are entitled to consultation and accommodation regarding any resource extraction on their territories. Yet the BC Forest and Range Agreement offered to the Nuxalk in 2005 is a coercive arrangement, compromising Aboriginal Title and Rights. And the clearcutting continues today: right is a 2006 photo of the Parker Creek watershed on Nuxalknalus (King Island), which lies in the heartland of the Great Bear Rainforest.
Interfor clearcut, Nuxalknalus, 2006.
Photo: Ian McAllister

“Bear Market.” (click for original)
Photo: Ian McAllister (text added) The $120 million Coast Opportunities Fund dedicated to protecting nature in the Great Bear Rainforest has become a coverup for the continuing “sustained” development agenda by international resource extraction corporations. Typical is the pro big business article which uses an image of a bear to greenwash its species killing intent (left). While the article claims “business as usual for big logging” is a matter of the past, the opposite is true. Chief Qwatsinas warns the players: “Nuxalk ancestral lands and rights remain a ‘Land and Rights Question,’ they are still unceded, untreatied, and not extinguished today. No other party has the mandate or authority to negotiate on behalf of the Nuxalk; we have never given this consent. These Ecosystem Based Management plans and policies were done without consulting us. If they are like the Forest Practices Code with a few more frills, then history may repeat itself” Statement to the Press.

AKU Poster Gallery on BC at “Viva Touristika” in Rostock (click on posters to enlarge)





Bella Coola on Tour

Lax Kw’alaams dancers preparing to take part in a canoe launching ceremony in Port Simpson on the Northwest Coast. The Lax Kw’alaams Band is a member of the Tsimshian Tribal Council. In 2004, Lax Kw’alaams took the West Fraser Company to court to stop it from logging their territory. Photo: Lax Kw’alaams Band | Forestry | Tsimshian


Captain Jack. Pastel by W. Langdon Kihn
Location: Wellcome Library, London
Noch Slak. Pastel by W. Langdon Kihn
Location: Wellcome Library, London
The portraits of Captain Jack “Grizzly Bear Paw,” medicine man of Kisbyyoks (left), and his wife, Noch Slak (above) were commissioned by Henry Wellcome in 1923. The artist, W. Langdon Kihn, also produced 24 paintings to illustrate the story published in 1937 by the National Geographic magazine: “When Red Men Ruled Our Forests.”

British Columbia Aboriginal Fisheries Commission chairperson Arnie Narcisse (St’át’imc Blackfeet) speaking at the launch of the Oil Free Coast Alliance in Vancouver on 2 October 2001. He is protesting against the off shore oil industry: “We depend on a healthy ocean and there is nothing, in terms of science or otherwise, that will provide any comfort to us that this industry is safe.” Photo: Ivan Bullic | Fisheries

Fisheries Eulachon

Heiltsuk and Nuxalk hereditary chiefs and elders in traditional regalia protesting against the aquaculture industry at Ocean Falls on 15 January 2003 during an International Day of Action. Protest signs say: “We Are the Salmon People” and “Keep Our Habitat Farm Free.” The industrial fish farm is owned by Omega Salmon, a subsidiary of the Norwegian mega corp PanFish. Photo: Forest Action Network | Fisheries | Heiltsuk

Heiltsuk Glditas Daqvu (Ingram-Mooto)

In 2003 without First Nations consultation or accommodation, the Norwegian company PanFish – Omega built a fish farm hatchery at Ocean Falls. An indigenous protest and blockade took place on 15 January 2003 that included a flotilla of some 30 boats and over 100 people, mostly from Bella Bella and Bella Coola (the Heiltsuk & Nuxalk communities) but also from Alaska and Washington. Elders and chiefs in full regalia assembled at Ocean Falls to make clear their unanimous opposition to the Atlantic salmon hatchery (above).

Omega fish farm construction, Ocean Falls, 2003.
Photo: Ruskin Construction
Omega fish farm construction, 2003.
Photo: Ruskin Construction
To facilitate the Omega fish farm at Ocean Falls, a 55m pier and a cargo ramp (above) was constructed, and one thousand timber pilings were driven 18m into the ground to provide the foundations for the fish rearing tanks (left). Ocean Falls is an ancient indigenous village and resource site located at the head of an isolated coastal fjord. Until 1901, when the BC government leased the area for power exploitation and a pulp mill, Ocean Falls was part of an intact ancient rainforest. Since then, one polluting industry after the other has made their destructive impact.

The Heiltsuk seasonal village was located at the base of the “Liak,” a spectacular waterfall which flowed from several pristine lakes into Cousins Inlet. The waterfall was destroyed when the lakes were damned to provide power for a sawmill and pulp plant. In 1906 the first settlers arrived and began clearing the land for a townsite. A 1916 photo reveals the scale of the industrial havoc (right).

Pulp and paper mill, Ocean Falls, c. 1920.
Photo: BC Archives (McRae)
Pulp and paper mill, Ocean Falls, 1916.
Photo: BC Archives
The pulp mill was completed by 1920 (left). Huge amounts of timber were clearcut logged from the mountain forests, causing erosion and the pristine waters were polluted with mill waste. Ocean Falls had a population of 3,500 at its peak but in 1973, Crown Zellerbach (the mill’s owner since 1954) closed its operations due to declining profitability.

Derelict hotel (left) & pulp mill (right), Ocean Falls, 2003.
Photo: John Harvey
The destruction of this rainforest Paradise is emblematic of the white invasion everywhere on the Northwest Coast. Colonialists set up canneries, mines and sawmills – boom – to – bust commercial enterprises that exploited the rich natural resources while they lasted. With these, company “villages” founded to house workers for the industries like at Ocean Falls came and went. In contrast, indigenous villages such as Bella Bella and Bella Coola have continued to thrive as communities despite the considerable economic hardship caused by the Indian Reserve system. In view of this contrast, one might expect sympathetic respect for the action of the Heiltsuk and Nuxalk hereditary chiefs who travelled by flotilla to Ocean Falls on 15 January 2003 to protest against the farmed fish hatchery (right). Instead they were met by a contingent of 13 Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in full combat gear, armed and accompanied by guard dogs. This was insulting to the indigenous representatives who had made it clear prior to the protest that it would be peaceful and dignified. Today a second growth forest has reclaimed Ocean Falls, while the abandoned toxic industrial site remains derelict (left), polluted with the pulp mill’s toxic 50 year legacy of chemical waste. Contaminants include dioxin, PCBs, nonylphenol, chloroform, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and heavy metals. Pulp mills are the largest single source of airborne dioxins in BC. Dioxine is a carcinogen and mutagen; it persists in the environment and accumulates in animal tissues.

Protest flotilla, Ocean Falls, 15 January 2003.
Photo: AKU (Jutta Kill)

Fish farm protest, Ocean Falls, 2003.
Photo: Ian McAllister

Heiltsuk and Nuxalk protesters, Ocean Falls, 2003.
Photo: Forest Action Network Also indigenous youths were present at the 15 January 2003 protest against the Omega fish hatchery construction at Ocean Falls (left). Soon after the protest, the Heiltsuk Tribal Council and the Heiltsuk Hemas Society filed a lawsuit against the BC government and Omega Salmon Group Ltd: “Despite being well informed about the importance of this area to the Heiltsuk, the government’s blatant disregard for our title and rights has felt like a slap in the face. It has created a situation where legal action is our only recourse to counter the threat that aquaculture poses to our way of life.” Chief Harvey Humchitt: “We continue to rely heavily upon our marine resources for subsistence as well as for cultural and social uses. The proposed hatchery threatens our way of life and we will use every available legal tool to protect my people and stop this development” Press Release (24 February 2004).

Farmed salmon protest, Vancouver 2003.
Photo: Nuxalk House of Smayusta
Aboriginal fishing rights in BC have been infringed upon time after time, starting in the late 19th century when settlers imposed a fisheries management system that served them. Colonial dispossession was facilitated by fisheries law and policy that “constructed fish as a common property resource” says Douglas Cole in his authoritative book “Landing Native Fisheries” (2008). The government’s 1924 Bella Coola Map shows how the surveying and naming of indigenous lands were part of a colonialist strategy of appropriation (right). Cannery sites are marked as well as large blocks of surveyed lands noted as Timber Licenses and Sales. “It was scarcely 200 years ago that European and other immigrants started coming to the coast. First came the fur traders and then the explorers, then in rapid succession, canneries, mining and logging operations, missionaries, reserve commissioners, government agents, and government and legal systems that asserted themselves all over pre-existing indigenous systems” Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre.
The Heiltsuk policy of “zero tolerance” toward the aquaculture industry in their territory is widely shared by other First Nations. A protest in 2003 at the federal Department of Fisheries Office (DFO) in Vancouver was held by the Nuxalk, Heiltsuk and Ulkatcho Nations (left), all of whom have suffered the consequences of DFO mismanagement, ever since the colonial takeovers of their fisheries.

“Bella Coola Map,” 1924. (red grid added)
BC Department of Lands

PanFish – Omega joins the long list of corporations that have exploited the contested resources at Ocean Falls: Bella Coola Pulp & Paper; (1906); Ocean Falls (1909); Pacific Mills (1915); Crown Zellerback (1954); and the BC government’s Ocean Falls Corporation (1973). None of them have shared their profits with the indigenous communities.
The PanFish – Omega hatchery produces some 10 million Atlantic salmon smelts annually for the BC aquaculture industry. The Nuxalk and Heiltsuk oppose this industry because of its threat to the survival of the wild salmon stocks. Their protest on 15 January 2003 at Ocean Falls was repeated on the same day during an “International Day of Protest” in Seattle, Vancouver, Hong Kong and Hamburg, Germany (right). See German coverage of the protest and indigenous support: Brennpunkt Ocean Falls (AKU).

BC fish farm protest, Hamburg, 2003.
Photo: AKU (Lydia Bartz)

Orca in front of Bella Bella.
Photo: Doug Brown
The Heiltsuk oceanside village of Bella Bella (Waglisla) can be seen in the background of the photo (above) of a breaching orca, a spectacular scene captured by Heiltsuk nature photographer Doug Brown. About 1,200 out of a total of ca. 2,200 Heiltsuk band members live in Bella Bella, an indigenous community historically known as the Bella Bella Indian Reserve. Reserves were supposed to ensure that indigenous peoples could continue their vital fisheries economy, and Bella Bella has been an important coastal fisheries centre. The Heiltsuk people are dependent on ocean resources for staple foods such as the Chinook salmon, the tyee or king salmon (right). This most prized species of Pacific wild salmon suffered a disastrous collapse in 2008, and an unprecedented fishing ban has been enacted along parts of the Northwest Coast. Bella Bella

Heiltsuk Doug Brown with Chinook salmon.
Photo: Doug Brown

Some traditional Heiltsuk seafood’s listed by
Heiltsuk Elder and Hemas Chief Fred Reid
horse clam
razor clam
Manila clam
butter clam
rock clam
pinto abalone
flat abalone
goose barnacle
giant barnacle
thatched barnacle
acorn barnacle
knotted cockle
Pacific tomcod
kelp crab
purple shore crab
hairy shore crab
Dungeness crab
peak crab
crown (fox) crab
red rock crab
porcelain crab
tanner crabs oolichan
ling cod
kelp greenling
Pacific herring
giant kelp
bull kelp
leech kelp
black mussel
horse mussel
blue mussel
pile perch
kelp perch
Quillback rockfish
China rockfish
yellow eye rockfish
canary rockfish
copper rockfish
tiger rockfish
vermilion rockfish
yellowtail rockfish
black rockfish
Pink salmon chinook salmon
chum salmon
coho salmon
sockeye salmon
Pacific salmon
sea cucumber
steelhead salmon
black cod
spiny dogfish
blue shark
Coonstripe shrimp
black-tailed shrimp
Long skate
Pacific squid
Dolly Varden trout
rainbow trout
Purple sea urchin
sand dollar
giant red urchin
green urchin
sleeper shark
The in depth fisheries knowledge of the Heiltsuk and their dependence on the sea for their livelihood was made clear in a series of testimonies (right) given during a government organized panel on aquaculture held in Bella Bella on 5 October 2006: Report on Proceedings. The unanimous rejection of aquaculture by the Heiltsuk was a powerful message to industry – government. Hereditary Chief Fred Reid testified through his son and provided an astonishingly long list of traditional Heiltusk seafood’s (above). The Heiltsuk have an Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy that is implemented by the Heiltsuk Fisheries Program, an indigenous initiative to monitor commercial as well as “Food, Social and Ceremonial” fisheries in Heiltsuk Territory.
Heiltsuk carving of a sculpin, c. 1890.
Collection: Smithsonian Institution
The sculpin fish (above) was known to the Heiltsuk as the “Lord of the Sea” and many different sculpin species lived in Heiltsuk waters, ranging in size from tiny to 20 lb giants.
Raija Reid
(for Fred Reid)
William Gladstone
Chief Gary Housty
Mel Innes
Ross Wilson
Andy Peers Sr.
Ellen Humchitt
Brian Starr
Steve Carpenter
Keith Gladstone
Peter R. Mason Jr.
Charles Gladstone
Susan Brown
Michelle Vickers
Georgia White
Ken Wilson
Jeff Brown
Reg Moody
Michael Wilson Bella Bella 2006

“Bella Bella, from Steamer Pacific,” 1868.
Photo: Eadweard Muybridge (click to enlarge)
The Bella Bella Cannery, owned by the British mega corporation BC Packers, was located across the bay from the Bella Bella Indian Reserve (right) and although native people worked in the cannery “village,” none of the vast profits made from exploiting the Heiltsuk salmon stocks were shared with the Heiltsuk community. Bella Bella had an indigenous self-government that was recognized by the newcomers who set up a hospital and churches. In 1903 the Heiltsuk purchased a sawmill and produced lumber for new houses, a wharf and a community boardwalk. The unique historical importance of Bella Bella as a centre for commercial steamship travel along the coast is evident in a ca. 1870 stereoscopic view (left). The early steamships had wood fueled engines, and over a dozen wood cutters worked for two days to provide enough fuel for one day of travel. Thus the land around Bella Bella, on Campbell Island, was deforested long before the Indian Reserve was set up here in 1870.

“Cannery at Bella Bella,” c. 1920.
Photo: BC Archives

When a government reserve commission visited Bella Bella on 25 August 1913, it much praised the success of the native community, and the final commission report included a photo of the remarkable “plank road” (right). The Heiltsuk testimonies are compelling evidence of Aboriginal Title and Rights. Chief Bob Anderson: “We are the natives of this Country and we want all the land we can get. We feel that we own the whole of this Country, every bit of it, and ought to have something to say about it … We consider that the Government is stealing that land from us.”
The Chief also rejected colonial fisheries law: “We think that the money which has been received for all these fishing licenses in the past should have been (and should be) paid over to us, as all the fishing privileges rightly belong to us Indians. The place is ours. All the money which is received from the licenses issued to the Cannery people should be paid over to us. This place was ours long before the Cannery people ever came here, and before any white people ever came into the country at all” McKenna McBride Report.
For Our Children’s
Tomorrows – Heiltsuk Land Use Plan – 2005
“Since time immemorial,
we, the Heiltsuk people have
managed all of our territory
with respect and reverence
for the life it sustains, using
knowledge of marine and land
resources passed down for
generations. We have
maintained a healthy and
functioning environment
while meeting our social and
economic needs over
hundreds of generations.”

Plank road, Bella Bella, 25 August 1913.
Photo: BC Archives
The Heiltsuk Nation has taken many outstanding initiatives through a wide variety of educational programs to document and preserve their rich cultural heritage and language. “Over thousands of years, our culture has continued to evolve through an ancient and continuing dialogue between our people, the Creator, and this environment” Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre. In 2005 the Heiltsuk Nation produced a land use plan (left): For Our Children’s Tomorrows. It takes a strong position against salmon farming and oil & gas exploration and sets its own agenda for the managing of Heiltsuk natural resources.

Heiltsuk fishing boats at Bella Bella, 2007.
Photo: Doug Brown R. v. Gladstone
The Heilsuk have had a number of successful legal rulings in their favour including the landmark Supreme Court of Canada case R. v. Gladstone (1996): Heiltsuk appellants Donald and William Gladstone versus the respondent Her Majesty The Queen. The case concerned the Aboriginal Right of the Heiltsuk to harvest and trade in fish products such as herring spawn on kelp. It was confirmed that the exchange and commercial trade of this product was a central and defining feature of pre contact Heiltsuk culture and therefore should be constitutionally protected by law.

Herring roe on kelp, French Creek, BC, 2008.
Photo: Lotus Johnson Such is the legal importance of the 1996 Gladstone case that a decade or so later, in 2005, a conference dedicated to it was held at the First Nations House of Learning, University of British Columbia: Reconsidering R. v. Gladstone. Since the Gladstone decision, declining fishery stocks have resulted in aboriginal groups gaining exclusive commercial fishing licenses. Although this controversial policy was charged as race based and as violating the equality rights of non-aboriginal fishermen, on 27 June 2008 Canada’s top court confirmed it to be constitutional.
A photo of herring roe on kelp (left) shows a fuzzy foam in the left corner – this is the milt from the male herring which fertilizes the eggs. The commercial value of this BC product is very high in Japan, where it is known as “Kazunoko” and marketed under the “Yellow Diamonds” brand.

Despite the Gladstone ruling, the non-native roe herring fishery continues: Herring egg harvest angers BC natives. In protest, on 24 March 2004 Heiltsuk and Kitasoo members in 50 boats blocked a commercial herring fleet of about 40 vessels and declared the area a “no fishing zone.” Two days later they protested again, at Canada’s Department of Fisheries & Oceans in Vancouver. Heiltsuk spokesperson Reg Moody stated: “The commercial herring seine fishery will seriously impact the ability of Heiltsuk people to practice their Aboriginal Right guaranteed in the Canadian Constitution and affirmed in the Gladstone Case by the Supreme Court of Canada. We cannot allow the short – term interests of the commercial fishery to jeopardize the long – term rights the Heiltsuk have to harvest spawn on kelp.”
Aboriginal traditions in Canada which demonstrate continuity with the practices, customs or traditions that existed prior to contact are explicitly protected by law. Heiltsuk fisheries traditions are richly evidenced in the landscape by historic salmon weirs (marked by the many tiny Heiltsuk Indian Reserves), by stone fish traps and by clam gardens. Yet the Heiltsuk people continue to be forced to engage in legal battles to protect their traditions and way of life.

Humpback, Higgins Lagoon, Heiltsuk Territory, 2007.
Photo: Ingmar Lee
Heiltsuk petroglyphs, Deer Pass.
Photo: Lisa Marie
“At the time of contact, the Heiltsuk peoples had a well – developed hunting, fishing, and gathering technologies including multiple techniques for preserving perishable food stuffs. They were able mariners and shrewd ecologists. They had a well – developed system of land ownership and resource management, and maintained extensive networks of sharing, redistribution and trading relationships that united the Heiltsuk groups and included other groups up and down the coast. Dramatic ceremonial systems, art forms and oral traditions kept cultural, economic and environmental knowledge alive and in constant review or practice” Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre.

“Seining Sockeye on Namu Creek,” c. 1915.
Photo: BC Archives Namu
Namu is an ancient Heiltsuk village and fishery site located not far from Bella Bella, at the confluence of Fitz Hugh Sound and Burke Channel. In 1893 the British company BC Packers opened a fish processing plant and cannery here to exploit the sockeye fishery. The cannery “village” lasted until 1969 when depleted fish stocks led to its abandonment. Today it is a derelict ruin. Heiltsuk member Pam Brown worked at Namu and wrote about the experience in her master’s thesis in ethnology at the University of British Columbia: “Cannery Days: A Chapter in the Lives of the Heiltsuk.” She also curated an exhibition on the subject in 1996 at the Museum of Anthropology in which she paid tribute to the work of the indigenous women who worked in the canneries.

Archaeological remains at Namu testify that people have been living here continuously for the past 9700 years, making it one of the oldest such sites in Canada. This fact was brought up during the 2006 government panel on aquaculture held in Bella Bella: “One of our other staples is a dependency on clam. In our history we know that at one point fish were scarce, so the First Nations people literally had to rely on clams to supplement their diet. He wishes for you to know that we are all well aware – and the evidence at the Namu dig supports our claim – that we have been in this area for many, many, many generations – 10,000 years plus. Also, we do know there are 450 – plus clam beds in our territory. We use a lot of them ” Raija Reid, on behalf of Chief Fred Reid: Report on Proceedings (5 October 2006).

Namu Cannery, 19 April 1906.
Photo: BC Archives (F. Swannell)

The Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Simon Fraser University is conducting an archaeological excavation at Namu (right) under professor Roy Carlson. Unearthed artifacts include 32 flaked stone tools such as bifacial points and knives, choppers and scrapers, and ground and pecked stone tools. In 2005 the museum created a virtual exhibit describing the Namu excavation: A Journey To A New Land.

Illustration of a “First Peoples” woman.
Simon Fraser University: A Journey To A New Land
Dig at Namu, 2005.
Photo: Roy Carlson
The virtual exhibit explores how people may have arrived in the Americas some 12,000 years ago and looks at some of the scientific evidence and ideas that have been proposed. A photo manipulation recreates the possible appearance of a “First Peoples” woman at Namu (left).

Like Ocean Falls, Namu is today a derelict site, evidence of the failure of colonial settlements to survive on the BC coast once they had depleted the natural resources through excessive harvesting. Following a century of degradation, the waters and forests at Namu are reclaiming the site. Even the robust Namu boardwalk, constructed from ancient cedars, is rotting as is the Namu Hotel (right). See a photo gallery from 2003 by John Harvey: Nigei Island to Namu.

Namu in captivity Namu film Namu conquered

Derelict Namu boardwalk and hotel, 2003.
Photo: John Harvey
Most people know “Namu” as the name of a famous killer whale who was captured near the ancient Heiltsuk site in 1965 and taken to Seattle for public display (left). The abuse of these intelligent mammals reflects ill on settler society. See: The First Captive Killer Whales.

Heiltsuk fish traps, Clatse, 2000.
Photo: Carsten Brinkmeier Gví’ilás
“Gví’ilás” is an Heiltsuk word for customs and laws concerning the sustainable harvesting of Heiltsuk resources for sustenance, cultural, commercial and recreational use. The remarkable stone fish traps, still evident on many Heiltsuk beaches (left), are an example of how intensively salmon fisheries were stewarded. Heiltsuk archaeologist Xanius (Elroy White) presented an academic paper at the annual conference for Northwest Anthropology in April 2008, describing the use of stone traps to form holding pools for migrating chum salmon. Increasingly such ancient indigenous structures are used to prove Aboriginal Title and Rights.

The presence of fish weirs and clam gardens is proof of extensive and careful management, of food resources being “gardened” rather than gathered in the “wild.” This is an important change in perspective with implications for treaty negotiations and land claims. European settlers mistakenly viewed land in the new colony as wild and uninhabited and therefore up for grabs. The clam gardens at Gale Passage, between Athlone and Dufferin Islands, have been continually harvested commercially by Heiltsuk clam diggers (right). Non-native forest activist Ingmar Lee describes them as “demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of stonework engineering designed to withstand centuries of continuous, albeit gentle tidal action. They absolutely abound with clams; at first glance I estimate they have increased the clam habitat by as much as 30 percent and also they enhance the ability of the clams to grow bigger and faster.”

Heiltsuk mechanical clam mask, c. 1900.
Photo: Smithsonian Institution
Clam gardens, Gale Passage, 2007.
Photo: Ingmar Lee
“The natural splendours of Heiltsuk territory evolved with a continuous and persistent human stewardship” says Lee “Generations of ancestors have influenced and shaped its magnificent efflorescence … as with all advanced civilizations, they were woven into the evolving whelm of life, and such integration left no detrimental ecological impact. They lived as part of what grew in the land and sea and their activities enhanced its bountiful capacity.” That sophistication and knowledge with which indigenous people consciously steered the evolution of biodiversity on their landscapes is reflected in the skill and brilliance of their art. An example is the Heiltsuk mechanical clam mask, carved c. 1900 (left) which has ended up in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

Heiltsuk chiefs, Qatuwas Festival, Bella Bella, 1993.
Photo: John Isaac (United Nations)
According to the United Nations (UN), which has taken up their cause, indigenous peoples “have a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories. They consider themselves distinct from other sectors of society now prevailing in those territories. Excluded from the decision making process, many indigenous people have been marginalized, exploited, assimilated and subjected to repression, torture and murder when they speak out in defence of their rights.” Given the high profile of Canada in regards to Human Rights, it is disappointing that Canada was one of four British settler countries that failed to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on 13 September 2007. The Declaration confirms that the survival and wellbeing of indigenous peoples depends on their access to and control of lands and resources. This is a direct threat to the exploitation of Canada’s natural resources by multinational corporations. The situation is especially volatile in BC, over 90 percent of the land and resources are contested by First Nations. Qatuwas
On 27 June 1993 two Heiltsuk chiefs in regalia were photographed at Bella Bella (left) welcoming traditional canoes ashore at the Qatuwas Festival, an international gathering of Northwest Coast First Nations. The festival was organized to mark the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People, proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly “to strengthen international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous communities in areas such as human rights, the environment, development, education and health.” The photo of the Heiltsuk hereditary chiefs, together with a photo of the Heiltsuk canoe “Glwa” and a photo of a Heiltsuk girl holding a Glwa paddle (below) have become iconic images used on the UN website to represent the 2.5 million indigenous peoples of North America: Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples.

“Glwa” paddle, Qatuwas, 1993.
Photo: John Isaac (United Nations)

“Glwa,” Heilsuk canoe, Qatuwas, 1993.
Photo: John Isaac (UN)

Traditional Heiltsuk and Nuxalk canoe journey.
Photo: Harvey Humchitt Traditional canoe journeys re-enacted with chiefs in full regalia have become integral to revitalizing the rich cultural lives of the coastal First Nations. Standing chiefs in the photo (left) from the right are Nuxalk Chief Lawrence Pootlas, Heiltsuk Chief Harvey Humchitt, and Nuxalk Chief Cecil Moody. Canoes carved from huge ancient cedars were essential to the Heiltsuk way of life, providing vital transportation. Also the ancient cedars provide the material for many of their rich cultural traditions and art forms which are celebrated in ethnology museums around the world. In 2000 the Royal Ontario Museum held “Káxláya Gvi’ílás,” curated by Heiltsuk Pam Brown, which presented some of the 284 Heiltsuk artifacts collected in 1901 by Methodist missionary R. W. Large.

Listening To Our Ancestors:
The Art of Native Life
Along the Pacific Coast

Smithsonian exhibition, 2005 to 2008.
National Museum of the American Indian
Chief Harvey Humchitt was the Smithsonian’s Heiltsuk community curator and on the exhibition website (above), he describes some of “The Laws of Our Ancestors” including the Dhuw’laxa Ceremony, Everyday Life, the Potlatch and the Tanis Ceremony. He explains how the Heiltsuk are oceangoing people who once relied on canoes as a means of transportation and describes how the carved objects represent the sea creatures essential to the Heiltsuk way of life like the staple halibut: Listening To Our Ancestors.
Heiltsuk photographer Doug Brown has presented an impressive series of beautiful images on Flickr: Coast Wild. These reveal the close relationship between the natural world and the rich cultural world of the Heiltsuk. Ancient indigenous traditions remain vital as is revealed by the photo of “Hemas Gukv” (mother of Doug Brown), seen in her splendid regalia during a potlatch at Bella Coola (right). “Listening To Our Ancestors” (left) is a travelling exhibition of Northwest Coast art organized by the Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution) that is currently – July 2008 – at the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City. The exhibit presents over 400 objects from eleven FN communities and attempts to “connect them to their lands, customs and ancestors.”

Hemas Gukv, Bella Coola potlatch, 2005.
Photo: Doug Brown

Koeye old growth watershed, 2006.
Photo: Doug Brown
The Koeye River mouth is the site of an ancient indigenous village and, to pay tribute to this, a Heiltsuk big house was built here in 2000 (right). Koeye (pronounced Kway) is the home of ‘Qaikas Nan’ – the Great Grizzly Bear. The Heiltsuk conduct educational courses at Koeye River to teach youth about being good stewards. The Heiltsuk also have initiated a cultural tourism venture that is an outstanding example of indigenous and sustainable eco-tourism: Koeye Lodge.
The Koeye River Watershed (left) is spectacular, with its never logged low elevation old growth forests, rich salmon runs, pristine fresh water lakes and wetlands river estuary. Until recently Koeye was part of Tree Farm License 39, an elaborate government give – away of indigenous resources to mega logging corporations. Road building and clearcutting began in the upper Koeye in 1990 but it was stopped before reaching the lower valley, one of the few such timber rich watersheds that First Nations and nature conservation organizations managed to save.

Heiltsuk Big house, Koeye.
Photo: The Hartfords

Traditional ceremony at Koeye.
Photo: Doug Brown
Another important Heiltsuk cultural celebration occurs every year at the Bella Bella Community School which hosts the Children’s Cultural Celebration, a sort of “play potlatch” that provides an educational opportunity to learn about cultural traditions (right). Heiltsuk children are taught about their cultural birthright: “traditional Heiltsuk knowledge, values, history, and cultural achievements are essential for the social and economic development and survival of the Heiltsuk people” Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre.
Traditional ceremonies are often held at the Koeye Bighouse (left). The re – vitalizing of First Nations stewardship is essential to protect the cultural, ecological and wildlife features of the Koeye River watershed. The Heiltsuk QQS (Eyes) Project Society supports the nature conservation ethic: “Protecting the people – Protecting the land.” There is also a Heiltsuk Conservation Based Development Plan, a Heiltsuk Land Use Plan and a Heiltsuk Regional Tourism Initiative.

Children’s Cultural Celebration, Bella Bella.
Photo: The Hartfords

Grizzly Bear Housepost, c. 1880
Collected by G. H. Raley
Bella Bella, c. 1939
University of British Columbia Heiltsuk Housepost
Collected by Stewart Culin
Bella Bella, c. 1911
Brooklyn Museum, New York
Another collector of Heiltsuk artifacts was the American Stewart Culin, curator at the Brooklyn Museum. Culin’s extensive collecting trips resulted in over 9,000 objects of Native American culture, among them a Heiltsuk housepost, collected at Bella Bella in 1911 (above). The powerful carving can be seen on display in the museum today (right). The robbing of Heiltsuk cultural treasures by Large, Raley and Cullin was typical of the age and is being addressed by the indigenous repatriation movement which has been most successful in the returning of museum held remains of their ancestors. For a scholarly account of the Large Collection of Heiltsuk art in the Royal Ontario Museum, see Martha Black’s “Bella Bella: A Season of Heiltsuk Art” (1997). During his journeys to First Nations coastal communities, Methodist minister G. H. Raley assembled a large ethnographic collection. Over 600 objects ended up at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology, including the striking Grizzly Bear Housepost (far left), acquired in 1930 but likely carved c. 1880.

Heiltsuk housepost collected by S. Culin, 1911.
Brooklyn Museum, New York State

The Methodist missionary – collector R. W. Large is remembered in Bella Bella – if only because the hospital is named after him. The R. W. Large Memorial Hospital serves several First Nations communities and it provided the only surgical and maternity services on BC’s “Inside Passage” between Vancouver Island and Prince Rupert until a decade ago when the BC government callously ended these services to save expenses. At the same time as such essential health services are cut back, the indigenous communities see how their resources are massively disappearing along with the huge profits, cashed in by the multinational corporations.
At the same time that Heiltsuk art is celebrated in museums, ancient cedars and culturally modified trees continue to be clearcut logged despite being “one of the few remaining windows on a rich cultural heritage and ancient historical past” (Heiltsuk Tribal Council, 1984). Ancient cedars are essential to the Heiltsuk carving traditions. Heiltsuk artist Kvamaxalas (Stanley George) is a prolific carver (right). (The 86 year old artist can be seen in the background on the right.) Another fine example of his work is the pole he carved as a gift for the Elder’s Building in Bella Bella (below).
Heiltsuk carver Kvamaxalas, 2006.
Photo: Doug Brown

Totem Pole Raising at Bella Bella 19 October 2006

Log barge passing Bella Bella, 2006.
Photo: Ian McAllister The sinister spectacle of huge industrial log barges passing by Bella Bella (left) is a reminder of the horrific rate of biodiversity destruction. So strong is the pungent sap of the ancient cedars that such barges can be smelled onshore, many kilometers away. Heiltsuk Territory is riddled with timber licenses held by some of the world’s most voracious logging corporations. Under the guise of “collaboration” they relentlessly continue the old growth deforestation that has already caused the extermination of the salmon fisheries in California, Oregon and Washington. To stop this process of vagrant degradation, the lands and waters must be returned to their rightful indigenous owners and economic support must be forthcoming to the FNs and local communities to help them preserve the ancient and irreplaceable forests.

Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council members in a traditional Kwakwaka’wakw canoe protesting at the Heritage Salmon fish farm in Broughton Archipelago on 10 July 2004, and demonstrating their support for the Greenpeace campaign Keep it Wild – No Fish Farms. Photo: Greenpeace Canada | Fisheries | Kwakwaka’wakw

Kwakwaka’wakw ‘Namgis
Kwicksutaineuk Tsawataineuk

“Ever since the white people first came to our lands, we have been known as the Kwawkewlths by Indian Affairs or as the Kwakiutl by anthropologists. In fact, we are the Kwakwaka’wakw, people who speak the Kwawala language, but live in different places and have different names for our separate groups. All of us, who are related because we come from that original tribe that split up, are called the ‘Wakashan Language Family.’ That word is pronounced [Wuh-CASH-shun]” U’mista Cultural Society.

Kwakwaka’wakw Tribes: Order of Rank.
Photo: U’mista Cultural Society
Kwakwaka’wakw Territory. (Click to enlarge)
Map: U’mista Cultural Society
“Each of those related groups speaks a different language now, so they are not Kwakwaka’wakw. All of the Kwakwaka’wakw can understand each other, even though we use some words with a different dialect” U’mista Cultural Society.
“Some of the Kwakwaka’wakw have disappeared, among them the Awa’etlala of Knight Inlet, the Nakamgalisala of Hope Island, the Yaltiaux of Cox and Lanz Islands. A few of the groups died out, while some amalgamated with other groups. Some of the villages have been abandoned for years” U’mista Cultural Society.

“The Europeans brought iron tools, firearms and other European goods. They also brought diseases, like the measles, influenza, tuberculosis, venereal disease and small pox. To the First Nations people, with no immunity to these European diseases, the consequences were devastating. Two thirds of the population was wiped out within a relatively short period of time. Then in the early 1900’s a vast population increase began and continues to increase” U’mista Cultural Society.
For thousands of years, the Kwakwaka’wakw (pronounced “kwa kwa ka wak”) people have lived on northern part of Vancouver Island, on the adjacent mainland coast and on the islands between. Compared to the high population density of the metropolitan areas in the south (gold on map, right), the Kwakwaka’wakw homeland has not been invaded to the same extent by European settlers.
Kwakwaka’wakw lands. (Click to enlarge)
BC Government (text added)

Broughton Archipelago.
Kwakwaka’wakw Territory Long stewarded by its original inhabitants, the Northwest Coast is one of the most biologically diverse environments in the world, a natural paradise. The heartland of Kwakwaka’wakw Territory is the spectacular Broughton Archipelago, a rich marine area (left) with the highest fish and wildlife biodiversity on the coast and an essential migrating route for several species of wild salmon.
The incalculable long term ecological and economic value of the Broughton Archipelago is being destroyed by multinational fish farm corporations. Already the cumulative effect of 100 years of colonization and industrial resource extraction has resulted in the severe ecological degradation of southern coastal areas and development pressure is increasing all along the northern BC coast.

Chief Bob Chamberlin, Oslo, Norway, 30 May 2006.
Photo: Anders Minge
Most of the fish farms operating in Kwakwaka’wakw Territory are located in the Broughton Archipelago (right). This is part of the ancient tribal territories of First Nation members of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council (MTTC). The MTTC policy of “zero tolerance” toward aquaculture is widely supported: “Fish farms seriously and severely impact Aboriginal Title Lands and Waters. Water is contaminated, poisoning salmon, shellfish and other marine life … All marine resources, most notably salmon, are already deeply depleted as a result of mismanagement. Fish farms only serve to further endanger salmon stocks which are already fighting for survival. When our salmon, oolichan, shell fish and other marine resources die or are attacked, our Peoples are attacked” Fish Farms (Union of BC Indian Chiefs). Chief Bob Chamberlin (left) of the Kwicksutaineuk Ah – Kwaw – Ah – Mish (left) travelled to Pan Fish headquarters in Norway in May 2006 to warn the world’s largest fish farm corporation: “The way Pan Fish is operating in our territories is putting our traditional food sources in jeopardy. My people rely on salmon for survival, but those wild fish could eventually be wiped out if Pan Fish fails to adopt strict environmental standards. Our governments aren’t listening to our concerns, so it is our duty to take these issues directly to the salmon farmers themselves” News Release, 30 May 2006: BC First Nations Travel to Norway.

Fish farm locations. (Click to enlarge)
Map: Living Oceans Society

Northern Resident Orcas, mid Queen Charlotte Strait.
Photo: Alanna
Kwakwaka’wakw waters are inhabited by 17 pods (extended families) of about 250 killer whales which are grouped into three major clans (related pods). The magnificent endangered sea mammals are known as the Northern Resident Community of Orcas.
The Kwakwaka’wakw are comprised of approximately 30 autonomous groups speaking the Kwakwala language. These include: Da’naxda’xw Awaetlala, Gwa’sala – ‘Nakwaxda’xw, Gwawaenuk, K’omoks, Kwakiutl, Kwiakah, Kwicksutaineuk Ah – Kwaw – Ah – Mish, Mamalilikulla Qwe’ Qwa’ Sot’ Em, ‘Namgis, Quatsino, Tlatlasikwala, Tlowitsis, Tsawataineuk, Wei Wai Kai, and Wei Wai Kum. Coalition groups include: Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council; Hamatla Treaty Society; Kwakiutl District Council; and Winalagalis Treaty Group.
All Kwakwaka’wakw tribes share a geographical and cultural orientation to the sea. Traditional villages, resource sites and burial grounds are located on the water and tribal territories include large bodies of water with complex inherited fishing rights. Kwakwaka’wakw society today is governed by both hereditary chiefs and traditional practices and by elected councillor chiefs.

“Blunden Harbour,” Emily Carr, c. 1930.
National Gallery of Canada

Ubumpa, ‘Nakwaxda’xw elder, 1988.
Photo: Adrian Dorst
The Kwakwaka’wakw were world famous long before they gained recognition in Canada. They are one of the most studied indigenous groups in the world, having been the subject of extensive field research beginning in 1886 with German born anthropologist Franz Boas. Regarded as the founder of modern anthropology, Boas dedicated himself to recording the Kwak’wala language, legends and mythology while making systematic collections of Kwakwaka’wakw artifacts, primarily for the Museum of Ethnology in Berlin and for the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Long celebrated as icons of “primitive” art, Kwakwaka’wakw artifacts are on display in museums across the western world. An example is Dzonoqwa (right) a magnificent Gwa’sala – ‘Nakwaxda’xw house post carved in red cedar. Bought from a chief at the village of T’akus by an English collector (C. F. Newcombe), it was sold in 1905 for $50. In 1912 Dzonoqwa was exhibited at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, then traded to a New York antique dealer. In 1942, Dzonoqwa was sold to German artist Max Ernst, the founder of Surrealism, who in 1975 donated it to the Musée de l’Homme in Paris where it is today exhibited.
During the 1920s, as “Dzonoqwa” was becoming a precious art object in New York, the Gwa’sala – ‘Nakwaxda’xw homeland was alienated by the BC government. Logging companies were given timber licences to desecrate its ancient forests and its people were forcibly amalgamated with the Kwakiutl in Port Hardy. See the book by Alan Fry, the Indian Agent at Port Hardy: How a People Die (1970).
A vast ethnographic literature exists on Kwakwaka’wakw art, language, social organization, religion and mythology including: George Dawson, Customs and Arts of the Kwakiool (1887); Franz Boas, The Social Organization and the Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl Indians (1896); Franz Boas and George Hunt, Kwakiutl Texts (1905); Kwakiutl Texts II (1906); The Kwakiutl of Vancouver Island (1909); Ethnology of the Kwakiutl (1921); Geographical Names of the Kwakiutl Indians (1934); and Edward S. Curtis, The Kwakiutl (1914) in The North American Indian (1907 – 1930).
See also: Helen Codere, ed. Kwakiutl Ethnography (1966); A. Hawthorn, Kwakiutl Art (1979); Aldona Jonaitis, ed. Chiefly Feasts: The Enduring Kwakiutl Potlatch (1991); Robert Galois, Kwakwaka’wakw Settlements 1775-1920 (1994); George Stocking, ed. Volksgeist as Method and Ethic: Essays on Boasian Ethnography and the German Anthropological Tradition (1996); S. B. Nielsen, Civilizing Kwakiutl (2001, dissertation); Ira Jacknis, The Storage Box of Tradition: Kwakiutl Art, Anthropologists, and Museums (2002); Martine J. Reid and Daisy Sewid – Smith, Paddling to Where I Stand (2004); Lucy Bell, Reclaiming Mamalilikila Lands (2004). Bibliographies: Wakashan Linguistics (Washington Univ.); and Kwakwala Language (Yinka Dene Language Institute). Ba’as (Blunden Harbour) is a “Place of Origin” for the Gwa’sala – ‘Nakwaxda’xw. Using a photo of Ba’as taken in 1901, the artist Emily Carr portrayed the village in a painting (above) that has became an icon of Canadian art. See the National Gallery exhibition: Emily Carr.
Ubumpa (1900-2003), also known as Catharine Adams, was a remarkable ‘Nakwaxda’xw noblewoman from Ba’as. Ubumpa (left) was a fluent speaker of the ‘Nakwala dialect of the Kwakwala language. Her loss at 103 years old was a great tragedy given the close to extinct status of Kwakwala.
The current National Gallery exhibit is in contrast to the action of the Canadian government in 1964 when it forcibly relocated the ‘Nakwaxda’xw and Gwa’sala from Ba’as (Blunden Harbour) and T’akus (a Gwa’sala winter village at Takush Harbour in Smith Inlet). RCMP officers removed the people and took them to Port Hardy where they were housed under appalling conditions without health or education facilities on the Tsulquate Indian Reserve in Kwakiutl Territory. T’akus was destroyed to prevent their return. Today the Gwa’sala – ‘Nakwaxda’xw are suing Canada over this shameful abuse of Aboriginal Title and Rights.

“Dzonoqwa,” Musée de l’Homme, Paris.
Photo: Joseph Jastrow

“Rounding into Port – Qagyhl.” (Click to enlarge)
Edward Curtis, Plate 352, The Kwakiutl, 1914.
The Kwakiutl (1914) is the largest volume of the 20 volume work The North American Indian by Edward Curtis. It contains some 100 photos and descriptions of the Kwakwaka’wakw. Scenes of fantastic sailing canoes demonstrate the close relationship between the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples and the sea (above). The traditional sea going canoes were carved from massive ancient cedar trees and had sheets of cedar bark matting for sails.

“Indian Village at Salmon River,” 1881. (Click to enlarge)
Photo: BC Archives (E. Dossetter)
From a pre contact population estimated to be 19,000, the Kwakwaka’wakw were reduced primarily by waves of epidemics to about 1,000 by 1921. As the Kwakwaka’wakw became increasingly a minority in their own territories, their lands and waters were alienated by the government and private companies. Settlers moved into the Salmon River territory of the Lekwiltok in the 1890s and named their community “Sayward” in 1911 after an American lumberman who had made a fortune on Vancouver Island. With the opening up of Kwakwaka’wakw territories to settlement, many traditional villages were abandoned. The Lekwiltok village of Xwasam was located at the mouth of Salmon River (left and below). At the 1881 census there were eight cedar houses and 17 families here. In 1886 the government allotted Salmon River Indian Reserve #1. In about 1918 Xwasam was abandoned. During this period, the number of whites in Kwakwaka’wakw territories exploded from 41 in 1881 to about 5,000 in 1921.

“Graves in the Indian Village at Salmon River,” 1881.
Photo: BC Archives (E. Dossetter)

Ancient forests were stewarded by the Kwakwaka’wakw; the largest cedar trees provided planks for dwellings and logs for dugout canoes. The cedars were harvested and felled by traditional methods. The extermination of these trees by the logging industry has resulted in a loss of traditional carving skills needed for making the massive sculptural figures (right) and canoes (below).

Kelsey Bay, canoe at Salmon River, June 1911.
Photo: BC Archives
The Salmon River watershed was deforested primarily by the Salmon River Logging Company. To sort and transport the logs, a depot was built in Kelsey Bay (right) at the mouth of Salmon River where it destroyed valuable estuary habitat.
Kelsey Bay, Village at Salmon River, June 1911.
Photo: BC Archives

Salmon River Logging Co., Kelsey Bay, 1976.
Photo: BC Archives

Brenda Assu and Vernon Price, Cape Mudge, 2004.
Photo: Quadra Island Tourism
The Assu Family was renowned for its lavish potlatches, held at its magnificent house at T’sakwa’lutan (Cape Mudge). When Chief Billy Assu (1867 – 1965) held his great potlatch ceremony of 1911, he gave away 17 canoes carved from red cedar, seven of them over 60 ft long. In 1912, Chief Assu (right) was the first in his community to own a gas powered fishing boat. He and his son Chief Harry Assu (1905 – 1999) were life long seiners, greatly respected for their fishing skills and for their devotion to aboriginal rights.
The economic growth of BC’s commercial salmon fishery depended on outlawing traditional catching methods and removing indigenous control over the salmon rivers. Colonial entrepreneurs dispossessed First Nations and destroyed their fisheries by clearcut logging the primaeval forests and by building sawmills and canneries at the mouths of rivers. Aquaculture is the latest form of resource exploitation and continues the colonial cycle of industrial degradation. Chief Harry Assu was one of the first to reject farmed salmon, having witnessed the effects of logging during his lifetime: “There used to be a lot of fish. It is the logging that has ruined the fishing … everybody realizes that fishing has been sacrificed for logging in BC” Harry Assu & Joy Inglis, Assu of Cape Mudge (1989). Brenda Assu and carver Vernon Price (left) are members of the Wei Wai Kai Tribe of the Lekwiltok Kwakwaka’wakw. Clearcut logging has been so extreme that few ancient cedar trees have survived and today it is difficult for carvers to find large enough specimens for traditional canoes.

Chief Billy Assu, c. 1915.
Campbell River Museum (H. Twiddle)

Salmon ceremony, Cape Mudge.
Photo: Kwakiulth Museum Each year when the first salmon runs begin, usually in June, the Wei Wai Kai hold a ceremony at Cape Mudge (left): “The ceremony is held to thank the salmon, as members of the Animal Kingdom, for allowing themselves to be killed in order to provide food for humans … The salmon’s head, bones, and entrails are separated from the flesh and wrapped in a cedar mat or bow … The salmon remains are then put into the water so that the salmon can return home to its people and tell them how well it was treated. Because the salmon’s remains were placed back in the water, the salmon will come back to life and return again the next year” Kwakiulth Museum, Cape Mudge.

Already by 1924 about 60 logging companies – many with their own railways – were clearcutting entire watersheds in Kwakwaka’wakw Territory. Salmon spawning rivers were further despoiled by dams, power generators and heavy metal pollution from the mining and forest industries.
In 1958 the John Hart Dam was built five miles up from the mouth of the Campbell River to supply cheap energy for Elk Falls Pulp and Paper Mill (right). This mill was the “coup de grace” of one of the world’s greatest salmon rivers, with amazing runs of cutthroat, chinook and steelhead that were made famous by fly fisher and writer Roderick Haig Brown.

Diseased wild salmon, Broughton Archipelago.
Photo: Living Oceans Society
Elk Falls Pulp and Paper Mill, 2007.
Photo: Karen Wonders
Elk Falls Pulp and Paper Mill, owned by Catalyst Paper, is located across the water from the Wei Wai Kai band at Cape Mudge. In 2005 the band sued the BC government over pollution from the pulp mill, a case described in the Tyee Magazine: Coal Smoke Adds to Band’s Cancer Alarm. On the health risks, see: Why Does Pulp Pollution Matter? (Reach for the Unbleached). Kwakwaka’wakw waters are also being polluted by wastes from industrial fish farms and the precious wild salmon stocks of the Broughton Archipelago have been found to carry lice and diseases (left) spread from farmed Atlantic salmon in open net cages.

Aquaculture was introduced in the 1970s when salmon stocks collapsed after decades of fisheries mismanagement by Euro Canadians. In the rush for short term profit, no heed is given to warnings that farmed Atlantic salmon will exterminate native salmon stocks by colonization, predation, habitat destruction and disease. First Nations observers were invited by Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council to tour the Broughton Archipelago and see the problem for themselves (right). A 2006 study confirms the impact of sea lice infections on wild salmon: “The study shows that fish farms are changing the way wild salmon get infected with parasites. As a result, up to 95 per cent of wild juvenile pink and chum salmon are dying from sea lice infections in coastal BC” M. Wonham and M. Krkosek; Epizootics of Wild Fish (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
The environmental problems associated with fish farms are well known by their predominantly European owners: Norwegian Aquaculture (2003). The genetic diversity of the wild salmon species in BC is without equal in the world. Destroying this precious biodiversity is a crime not only against Nature but against the First Nations peoples who have stewarded the salmon throughout the ages. See the conservation report: First Nations, Salmon Fisheries.

Aboriginal observer, Broughton, 2004.
Photo: Union of BC Indian Chiefs

MTTC protest, Vancouver, 27 January 2005.
Photo: Joe Foy
Sea lice on wild salmon, Broughton Archipelago.
Photo: Andrea Morton

The ongoing conflicts with commercial fishing and canning industries led the Kwakwaka’wakw to found their own branch of the Native Brotherhood of BC in 1931. To further represent their interests, the Kwakwaka’wakw founded the Pacific Coast Native Fishermen’s Association which merged with the Brotherhood in 1943 to become one of the most powerful First Nations advocacy organizations. Aboriginal fishing issues today are addressed by the First Nations Strategic Alliance on Aquaculture (FNSAA). On 11 July 2006 members signed a resolution (right) “to collaborate on legal, political and cultural strategies to protect traditional territories from further degradation and risk from open net cage fin fish farms.” Chief Eric Joseph is signing the resolution and standing (from left) are: Chief Darren Blaney, Chief Bill Cranmer and Chief Bob Chamberlin.
FNSAA founding chiefs, 11 July 2006.
Photo: FNSAA

Kwakwaka’wakw tribes, c. 1850. (Click to enlarge)
R. Galois (text added) Many of the existing Kwakwaka’wakw “Places of Origin” or winter villages are the same as those recorded over a hundred and fifty years earlier. A map (left) shows the territories and winter villages of five tribes in 1850: ‘Namgis (Xwalkw, Nm11); Kwakiutl (Tsaxis, Kw23); Quatsino (Xwatis, Ks4); Kwicksutaineuk (Gwa’yasdams, Kx9); and Tsawataineuk (Gwa’yi, Tw12).
Land right issues in Kwakwaka’wakw territories are complex and cannot be separated from traditional fishery and resource procurement sites: “For the Kwakwaka’wakw, thinking about land involves knowing what group or family claims and has the right to use it, knowing its resources, and, finally, knowing how to use those resources” Robert Galois, Kwakwaka’wakw Settlements.






Tsux’iit the orca greeting Tyee Ha’wilth, Chief Mike Maquinna (left), in the territorial waters of the Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nation in 2004. Tsux’iit was cared for by the Mowachaht Muchalaht people in defiance of Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Photo: Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nation | Fisheries | Mowachaht/Muchalaht

Mowachaht/Muchalaht Tsux’iit

Exhibition opening at the BC Provincial Museum, c. 1970.
Photo: BC Provincial Museum
A 1970s exhibition at the BC Provincial Museum featured the 1792 wood engraving of Chief Maquinna. Standing beside a reproduction of the famous portrait is Mowachat Chief Ambrose Maquinna (right) and his son Mike and elder Sam Johnson (left). The portrait of Chief Maquinna was one of the most copied and published images of North American indigenous people in the early 19th century (right).
“Indigeni di Nutka, c. 1840.
Unknown original source.


A traditional fish weir on the Nicola River in Nlaka’pamux Territory. Weirs are a form of direct action that challenges colonial laws innacted to take over the aboriginal fishery. In 1989 Nlaka’pamux Chief Robert Pasco commenced legal action against the Canadian National Railroad for encroaching on salmon habitat. Photo: Watershed Watch Salmon Society

Xwémalhkwu First Nation Chief Darren Blaney (in blue) and ‘Namgis Chief Bill Cranmer (ceremonial regalia) speaking in front of the BC Law Courts in Vancouver on 10 February 2005. They are protesting against salmon farming at the mouth of Bute Inlet by Marine Harvest Canada, part of the Dutch transnational company Nutreco. Photo: Joe Foy

Iskut elder and stroke victim Jerry Quock being arrested by the RCMP on 15 September 2005 for protecting Klabona, the Sacred Headwaters. He is assisted by Loretta Dennis of the Tl’ogotine Wolf Clan. Nine Tahltan elders and six First Nations supporters were arrested for protesting mining projects by Fortune Minerals and Shell. Photo: James Dennis 3rd | Mining

Mining Lecture in Victoria
Tse Keh Nay

Shell Energy Canada, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, plans to develop a coalbed methane gas field at the headwaters of the Skeena, Nass, and Stikine rivers – in northwestern British Columbia (BC). The area is has indigenous signifcance as a Sacred Headwaters. See subchapter: Klabona. The Tahltan and Iskut people whose land the Shell mining project will degrade have charged the government and industry with failure to consult and accommodate their aboriginal interests over resource use and development.

Klappan Valley, Tahltan Territory.
Photo: Gary Fiegehen
Klabona blockade, 21 August 2007.
Photo: Klabona Keepers
A Tahltan blockade at Klabona (above) on 21 August 2007 was followed by demonstrations against Shell in the town of Smithers and at the Vancouver courthouse where Shell was asking for an injunction to arrest the indigenous activists. “Shell’s project is likely to permanently harm our territory and the salmon, wildlife and cultural activities it supports … The Sacred Headwaters is the place where our youth learn about our culture, where our elders want to go before they die. It is incredibly important to us” Klabona Keepers.

Arrest of Tahltan elder, 15 September 2005.
Photo: Klabona Keepers
British Columbia: Nigeria North?
YouTube (Click to view)

The transnational oil and gas industry began operating in the Klappan coalbed and methane gas field in the 1980s with Gulf Oil (right). In 2001 the Klappan mine was bought by Fortune Minerals. First Nations communities in Northwest BC are all under pressure by the sudden increase in value of minerals, coal and gas. The Wet’suwet’en issued a strong rejection on 21 February 2007: “After careful consideration of the risks and benefits of coalbed methane, we have unanimously decided to oppose the tenure for the Telkwa coalbed methane project” Office of the Wet’suwet’en.

Wet’suwet’en protest, Calgary, 24 November 2006.
Photo: Taylor Bachrach
Gulf Oil’s proposal for Klappan, 1980s.
Illustration: Gulf Oil
“Cease and Desist” mining was the message delivered by three Wet’suwet’en chiefs to the head office of the Norwest Corporation in Calgary, Alberta on 24 November 2006 (left). From the left: Chief Madeek (Jeff Brown), Chief Woos (Roy Morris) and Chief Kloum Khun (Alphonse Gagnon).
Cross tribal support between First Nations is growing in Northwest BC as more and more proposed resource development projects are bombarding the traditional territories of the indigenous peoples. To support their First Nations neighbours, Wet’suwet’en members witnessed the serving of an injunction on Tahltan protesters at the Klappan blockade near the community of Iskut on 9 September 2006.

Wet’suwet’en Chiefs opposed to coalbed mining.
Photo: Office of the Wet’suwet’en We, the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en, care deeply about our territory. Our traditional use has been confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada through the Delgamuukw – Gisday Wa court case. After careful consideration of the risks and benefits of coalbed methane, we have unanimously decided to oppose the tenure for the Telkwa coalbed methane project.
The Wet’suwet’en are supportive of economic development in our territory. We continue to work with the broader community toward development that delivers benefits while protecting the land.
But coalbed methane poses too great a risk to what we already have: clean water, wild salmon, and abundant wildlife. Together, we have decided against coalbed methane development in our territory. We call on the BC government and Norwest Corporation to honour this decision.
21 February 2007, Office of the Wet’suwet’en

Klappan blockade, 9 September 2006.
Photo: Klabona Keepers Many of the indigenous inhabitants of Tahltan Territory uphold the traditional values and way of life of their elders and ancestors. See chapter: Tahltan. Those Tahltan members who continue to live on the land warn that the game and fish are endangered. Klabona (Tl’ab’ne) is the Tahltan name for the headwaters of four salmon bearing rivers located in the Klappan highlands.
The mining industry’s invasion of Klappan is the source of a land rights battle as a group of Tahltan activists assert their ancestral ownership and duty to protect the land. “In September of 2005, nine of our Elders and six supporters were arrested and taken away in handcuffs (left). They were charged with contempt of court for protecting their land. Fortune Minerals dropped the charges the morning of the court hearing in Terrace to avoid negative publicity.”

Coal piles bound for Asia at the Ridley Island Coal Terminal, Prince Rupert, BC. (Click to enlarge)
Photo: Ridley Island Coal Terminal (Text added)

On 13 March 2007 the prime minister of Canada announced his new “EcoTrust” funding for BC to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. Unscrupulous provincial politicians were quick to grab EcoTrust funds to pay for the high voltage 260 MW powerline needed to fuel the multibillion dollar mining industry in Tahltan Territory, thereby facilitating massive carbon pollution both in BC and export regions such as Asia. This is a blatant embezzling of public money officially intended for environmental protection purposes. See: Green Money for Black Coal (Public Eye).

Caribou in the Klappan highlands, June 2006.
Photo: Poecile
Mount Klappan Coal Mine, aerial view.
Fortune Minerals property
The Mount Klappan Coal Mine (above) owned by Fortune Minerals is a main beneficiary of the planned Highway 37 electrification project. This underhanded taxpayer financed scheme to “publicize the costs and privatize the profits” of the powerline is part of the plan by Big Business to open up Tahltan Territory to mining and to take over public resources: BC Hydro Facts.
In 2006, Fortune Minerals almost acquired the federal Ridley Island Terminal in Prince Rupert at a firesale price. See: Sqwalk. Coal exports from this port to Asia are projected to increase 268 per cent in 2007. Hundreds of millions of tonnes of Klappan coal are destined for the unsatiable Asian market. The result will be runaway carbon emissions and the destruction of precious biodiversity including species vital to the Tahltan like the caribou (left).

Tse Keh Nay

Lecture in Victoria

Members of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council taking part in a Aboriginal Title and Rights demonstration at the BC Legislature in Victoria on 25 May 2000. The rally was organized by the tribal council to protest against lack of progress on treaty and land claim negotiations. Signs say: “Save Our Trees” and “Empty House – Empty Promises!” Photo: Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Haisla carver Sam Robinson on 1 July 2006 celebrating the homecoming of G’psgolox Totem Pole to Kitamaat from Sweden’s Museum of Ethnology. Haisla Territory was not invaded by large numbers of Euro Americans until the 1950s, when Alcan Aluminum Inc. built one of the world’s biggest aluminum smelters on the estuary of the Kitimat River, across from the Kitamaat Indian Reserve. Photo: Lars Erik Barkman | Mining | Haisla

Haisla Kitilope

“We, the Henaaksiala (Haisla people) of Husduwachsdu (the Kitlope), have known, loved and guarded the Kitlope Valley for untold, uncounted centuries. Here, our people have been born, have lived out their lives, and returned to the Earth, at one with the land. For we do not own this land so much as the land owns us. The land is part of us; and we are part of the land. It is given to us not only as a trust: to live within its boundaries in beauty and harmony; to nourish our bodies and our spirits with its gifts; and to protect it from harm” Chief Councillor Gerald Amos on behalf of the Haisla Nation, Kitlope Declaration (Na Na Kila Institute).

Photo: Adrian Dorst
Haisla Territory and Totem Pole Location.
Map: EcoTrust

Iskut elder Mabel Dennis being arrested on 15 September 2005 by an RCMP officer. Nine Tahltan and Iskut elders were arrested for blockading the road to Klabona, the Sacred Headwaters, in protest over coalbed methane mining by Fortune Minerals and Shell Canada. Photo: Tahltan Bulletin | Mining | Tahltan

Tahltan Klabona
Archival Album

Stikine watershed, Tahltan Territory.
Painting: Murray Hay
Tahltan Territory is in the remote northwestern area of what is now British Columbia and encompasses the legendary Stikine River and its tributaries (right). The Tahltan (pronounced “tall-tan”) people are the Original People of this vast and spectacular wilderness landscape. They occupied and lived sustainably here long before colonization and have never extinquished their Aboriginal Title by treaty or any other legal process. Today the mining industry is endangering not only the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the Stikine watershed but also the age old identity and responsibility of the Tahltan as “Keepers of the Land.”
Tahltan Territory.
Map: Tahltan First Nation (Click to enlarge)

Tahltan elder Lillian Moyer, Klabona blockade, 2006.
Photo: Klabona Keepers
The area around Todagin Lake is an ancient indigenous hunting grounds in the Klappan highlands (right). Few non natives had visited this pristine valley prior to 1952, when tourist hunters began flying into Todagin Lake with float planes. When the Spatsizi Wilderness Park was founded in 1975 – supposedly to protect the biodiversity of the area – the headwaters of the Stikine watershed were excluded to accomodate future mining development. For the Tahltan and other First Nations, the making of parks in tribal territory is a form of illegal land alienation by the government, not much different than the granting of industrial tenures. Tahltan elder Lillian Moyer rejects the bad mining practices of Red Chris Mine and the right of bcMetals (now Imperial Metals) to endanger the ecological integrity of the Todagin Plateau, “the largest Stone sheep habitat for lambing in the world” (left). Her protest is part of the ongoing Klappan blockade under the guidance of the Klabona Keepers Elders Society which is dedicated to asserting Tahltan Aboriginal Title and Rights.

Todagin Lake, Klappan.
Photo: Klabona Keepers

Tahltan Elders Statement, 25 February 2005.
Source: Klabona Keepers

Mountain caribou in the Klappan highlands.
Photo: Gary Fiegehen
Tahltan Territory was virtually roadless until 1972 when Highway 37 was completed, running north along the Iskut River and Lakes to Dease Lake, Cassiar and the Yukon. There are three Tahltan communities today: Iskut (Luwe Chon), Dease Lake (Talh’ah) and Telegraph Creek (Tlegohin) Iskut was not connected by road to Highway 37 until 1994. Surrounding Iskut are the Klappan highlands, a traditional hunting ground for moose, sheep, goats and caribou as well as the headwaters location of four rivers. Other mining projects in Klappan highlands include an open pit coal mine by Fortune Minerals and a coalbed methane project by Shell Canada. To facilitate the mining boom in Tahltan Territory, a new infrastructure is being created to provide energy and transport: hydro dams, railway expansion, electrical transmission line routes, air runways and a haul road to Port of Stewart. This unprecedented development pressure in addition to the unknown cumulative environmental impact of mining motivated a group of elders to declare a moratorium in 2005: Talhtan Elders Statement.

View north along the Iskut Lakes.
Photo: Gary Fiegehen

Fanny Woods, Tahltan elder, Telegraph Creek, 1991.
Photo: Gary Fiegehen
In 2006 to educate the community about the need to protect the Sacred Headwaters, the Klabona Keepers founded the Headwaters Educational Centre on the site of an old Iskut camping place and fishing spot near the head of Klappan. Here the elders are teaching traditional skills necessary to living on the land such as the preparing and scraping of moose hides (right). See: Hides (Tahltan Nation CD Rom). “We, the Tahltan People, historically a sovereign nation have occupied our traditional territories since time immemorial. Our culture is organized through a matrilinear clan system. This has always been and remains our broad governing structure. Tahltan Elders held the responsibility to uphold Tahltan beliefs, customs, values and laws for future generations” Talhtan Elders Statement.
Fanny Woods was a Tahltan elder from Telegraph Creek (left). She is fondly remembered for her fish camp on the Stikine where for many years she taught traditional skills and knowledge.

Mary Dennis, Headwaters Educational Centre, 2006.
Photo: Klabona Keepers

“Teltah,” Tahltan woman, n.d.
Photo: Glenbow Archives In 1838 the Scottish born explorer and fur trader Robert Campbell was one of the first outsiders to enter Tahltan Territory. He described “a remarkable woman, the Chieftainess of the Nahanies [who] had a pleasing face lit with fine intelligent eyes, which when she was excited flashed like fire.” The explorer expressed his deep gratitude for her protection: “To the kindness and influence of this Chieftainess, we owed much on more than on occasion; in fact in all probability we owed our lives to her more than once.”
The invasion of whites that followed resulted in tragedy for the Tahltan people: “Now that we understand what happened when the epidemics struck, we realize that there was a reason why our people died. We also realize that we need to look back and see who we were (and are) as Tahltans. Some of us believe that one of the reasons that we have so many social problems is because we have lost our identity. We do not know where we came from and who we are as a people” Tahltan Nation CD Rom.
“Tahltans have always had a strong tie to their land and waters through the subsistence economy of their society. European contact did not influence Tahltan culture until later than other areas of BC” Tahltan Nation CD Rom. The Tahltan people, their culture and their Athapaskan language were studied and recorded by two of the earliest professional ethnologists to work in BC: George Emmons, The Tahltan Indians (1911); and James Teit, “Tahltan Tales” published in the Journal of American Folklore (1919).

Today Tahltan artifacts are in museum collections all over the world. One of the early collectors was George Emmons. The Burke Museum of Ethnology has a collection of 229 Tahltan artifacts collected by Emmons including a pair of exquisitely embroidered mocassins made from caribou skin (right).
References. On the Tahltan material collected by James Teit, see: C. Fenn, Life History of a Collection. See also Sylvia Albright, Tahltan Ethnoarchaeology (1984); K. Fladmark, Glass and Ice (1985); a linguistic study by John Alderete and Tanya Bob, A Corpus based Approach to Tahltan Stress (2005); and Bibliography of Tahltan Language Materials. To mark the 93rd anniversary of the Tahltan Declaration an exhibition called Mehodihi (2003) was presented at the Museum of Anthropology (UBC). This was the first time that the Tahltan people, their land, culture and heritage was celebrated by a museum. An excellent web source on the Tahltan is the Tahltan Nation CD Rom by School District 87 which is based on interviews with Tahltan elders.
Tahltan moccasins made of caribou skin, 1906.
Photo: Burke Museum of Ethnology

“Head of Dease Lake,” HBC post, n.d.
Photo: BC Archives
Dease Lake. (Click for QuickTime)
Photo: Don Bain
In 1838 a Hudson’s Bay Company’s post was established at the source of a mountain stream, a place known as “Talh’ah,” or Head of the Lake (left). The post at Dease Lake, as it was called, became a popular stop on the gold rush trail in 1864 and 1873. See some contemporary virtual panoramas: Along the Cassiar Highway and visit the community website: Dease Lake.

“Stikine Territory.” Map from 1862.
Photo: BC Government “When gold was discovered on the Stikine River in 1862, it was still our country. The Governor of the crown colony of British Columbia then organized it into the Stikine Territory [right]. It was administered by British Columbia. In 1863, Governor Douglas claimed all territory north to the 60th parallel and west to what is now the British Columbia – Alberta border. This territory then became part of British Columbia … ” On 20 July 1871, the crown colony of British Columbia entered Confederation. That is how we became part of a province in the country of Canada. Notice that we did not sign a treaty with the governments of British Columbia or Canada. That is the reason we are talking about land claims with them now” Tahltan Nation CD Rom.

Detail of an engraving by Thomas Moran.
W. Bell, The Stickeen River, 1879
The 1862 Stikine Gold Rush was followed by the Cassiar Gold Rush of 1874, but it was not until the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898 that Tahltan Territory was invaded on a large scale by whites, with the Stikine River serving as the major transport route inland to the Yukon.
The Stikine River was early on famous for its glaciers which were portrayed as rivaling those of Europe and the US. In 1879 when Scottish American naturalist John Muir travelled by paddlewheeler up the lower third of the Stikine River, he was astonished by the 300 glaciers he counted and he described the scenery as “a Yosemite a hundred miles long.” American landscape artist Thomas Moran had never visited the Stikine River but in an age before mass reproduced photos, his illustrations (above and right) were accepted as true to life representaions. See the 1879 travel narrative: The Stickeen River and its Glaciers.

“Big Canon.” Engraving by Thomas Moran.
W. Bell, The Stickeen River, 1879

Telegraph Creek, c. 1910.
Photo: Canada Archives Telegraph Creek was the head of navigation for the lower Stikine River during the gold rush days. A photo from 1910 shows the sternwheeler “Strathcona” at the village dock (left). The village was established above Glenora as a trading post and second mining camp on the Stikine River. The name Telegraph Creek comes from an ambitious project which began in 1866 to build an overland telegraph line to the Yukon but was not finished until 1901. Above Telegraph Creek (seen on the right in the photo) is the Tahltan graveyard. Here the Tahltan erected small buildings for the remains of their relatives. See: Death and Funerals, (Tahltan Nation CD Rom).
For virtual panoramas of how these places look today, see: Telegraph Creek on the Stikine River and The Stikine and Tahltan Rivers (QuickTime).

The Tahltan people were nomadic, moving from place to place throughout the year hunting, trapping and gathering berries and roots according to the season and returning to their salmon fisheries on the rivers in June. The Tahltan did not have permanent houses or settlements but with the influx of prospectors during the three gold rushes, their life style changed. They began working for wages and adopting non native practices instead of living exclusively on the land.
In 1897 an English missionary initiated the first permanent Tahltan winter village with log houses at a place on the Stikine River called “Goon-da-chagga” meaning “where the spring flows” (right). The mission ended in failure a few years later: Goon-da-chagga (Tahltan Nation CD Rom).
Goon-da-chagga, Stikine River.
Photo: anon

“Indian section of Telegraph Creek,” c. 1900.
Photo: BC Archives
The Catholic Mission Church for Indians was located at the end of a row of Tahltan log houses overlooking the Stikine River in Telegraph Creek (above). When prospectors set up mining camps in Tahltan Territory in the early 1860s they brought with them diseases that caused the smallpox epidemics of 1864 and 1868. The Tahltan population was devastated: by 1900, the Tahltan population had reached its all time historic low of 296. Nothing of this tragedy can be seen in the c. 1900 photo of Mary Porter, which shows an attactive young Tahltan woman dressed in stylish European clothes (right). Since colonization, the Tahltan people have recovered in numbers and rediscovered their traditional culture and beliefs. See: Confusion (Tahltan Nation CD Rom).
Mary Porter, Telegraph Creek, c. 1900.
Photo: BC Archives

Dandy Jim and Susie, Telegraph Creek, c. 1902.
Photo: BC Archives
Susie (above) is buried above Telegraph Creek in the Tahltan graveyard (right). Her gravestone reads: “In Memory of Nahgistiman. Susie Jim. Died Sept. 6 1913. Aged 48 years.” Note by Terri Brown: Susie’s Tahltan name is likely Nahgistimah – not Nahgistiman – as the ending “mah” means mother in the Tahltan language.
James Teit conducted field research in Tahltan Territory at the same time as he collected material objects, songs, narratives and historical photographs. See: “Tahltan Tales” in the anthology: The Man Who The Wolves Helped (1919).
“We claim the sovereign right to all the country of our tribe – this country of ours which we have held intact from the encroachments of other tribes, from time immemorial, at the cost of our own blood. We have done this because our lives depended on our country. We have never treated with them [whites], nor given them any such title” 1910 Declaration of the Tahltan Tribe.
One of the signatories to the 1910 Declaration was Chief Dandy Jim, whose wife was known as “One eyed Susie” (left). Dandy Jim was the key informant for ethnologist James Teit, one of the first white supporters of Indian rights in BC. His notes are confused on whether the Tahltan chief was a member of the Crow or the Wolf Clan.

Susie’s gravestone above Telegraph Creek.
Photo: Gary Fiegehen (Click to enlarge)

“Tahltan girls,” Telegraph Creek, c. 1900.
Photo: BC Archives (Andrew Stone) At the turn of the century, Andrew J. Stone, a wealthy big game hunter from New York City, visited Telegraph Creek. A photograph he took of five young Tahltan women in front of a log buldinging does not record their names (left).
Like the majority of whites, Stone wrongly believed the Tahltan to be a dying race. As an amateur anthropologist, he measured 36 Tahltan people including Chief Dandy Jim, his wife Susie and seven “half breeds.” This research was published by Franz Boas: Stone’s Measurements of Natives of the NW Territories (1901).
Stone was most concerned about the declining big game stocks which he blamed on hunting by the Tahltan. About the moose, he wrote: “The native and the wolf are its most aggressive enemies; but it is highly probable that it will outlive the former” Results of a Natural History Journey, 1900.

Andrew Stone refered to the Tahltan guides he hired as “my Indians” and he did not record their names. Nor did he credit their tracking skills which led him to his record breaking trophies. Thanks to his Tahltan guides, Stone was able to claim to have discovered two big game species. These he described in scientific papers: A New Mountain Sheep (1897); The Mountain Caribou of Northern British Columbia (1900); and New Caribou from the Cassiar Mts (1902). The new mountain sheep species was given the formal Linnaean name Ovis dalli stonei, shortened to “Stone’s Sheep.”
A painting of the Stone sheep by the Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman is a tribute to the magnificence of the horns of this species (right). It was largely to protect this big game animal, valued as an elite hunting trophy, that BC founded the Spatsizi Wilderness Park in 1975.
“Stone’s Sheep.” Painting by Robert Bateman.
Photo: Robert Bateman

Jimmy Johnathan and his family, c. 1906.
Photo: BC Archives
A popular Canadian textbook on Indians, first published in 1931 and reprinted many times, includes a photo of an unidentified Tahltan man in buckskin (right) who represents “A Tahltan hunter, typical of the Indians of northern Canada.” The undated photo was taken by the ethnologist and early Indian rights activist James Teit. It was retouched for printing, exaggerating the man’s facial features to seem more ferocious. The descriptive text to the Tahltan portrait is written in past tense, signifying the prevailing attitude that the Indian hunter naturalist type represented by the Tahltan had already succumbed to the forces of civilization:
“A migratory, outdoor life, wherein man pits his wits against the habits and instincts of the game on which he preys, inevitably develops a close perception of the phenomena of nature, and calls for many ingenious methods of obtaining the daily supply of food. The Indians were keen naturalists within the limitations of their interests. They knew the life histories of the animals they hunted, the different stages of their growth, their seasonal movements and hibernation haunts, and the various foods they sought for sustenance” (Diamond Jenness, The Indians of Canada, 1932). A 1906 photo is described as the Cassiar hunting camp of Jimmy Johnathan (left). His wife and two children are present along with his father in law, described as the Tahltan Chief.
According to a description of the Tahltan published in a 1906 textbook: “They are of medium stature, spare rather than stout, and have high cheek bones, full mouth, aquiline nose rather broad at the base, small hands and feet, coarse black hair, and mild and pleasant expression. On the whole they are an honest, agreeable, kindly people, hospitably inclined and dignified in bearing” Handbook of the American Indians.

“The Tahltan Hunter.” (James Teit)
D. Jenness, The Indians of Canada, 1932

The Scottish American naturalist John Muir made the Cassiar and Stikine country well known among the public by his true account: Stickeen, the Story of a Dog (1909). The hugely popular story was about a Tahltan Bear Dog: “a perfect wonder of a dog [that] could endure cold and hunger like a bear, swim like a seal, and was wondrous wise and cunning, etc.” The dog was considered a “good luck totem” and “was named “Stickeen” for the [Indian] tribe, and became a universal favorite; petted, protected, and admired wherever he went, and regarded as a mysterious fountain of wisdom.”
See: Background on Stickeen (Sierra Club). Canada honored the Tahltan Bear Dog with a commemorative stamp (right). The breed was first described by ethnographer James Teit who believed it would disappear by the 1930s. In fact, the Tahltan Bear Dog was not declared extinct until 1974.
“Tahltan Bear Dog,” Canadian stamp, 1988.
Photo: Canada Post

“Tahltan Matriarch” and her Tahltan Bear Dog, 1931.
Photo: BC Archives A 1931 photo entitled “Tahltan Matriarch” shows a woman in a traditional hunting camp smoking her pipe while her black & white Tahltan Bear Dog sits patiently beside her (left). As valuable hunting partners, the dogs were often carried in small moose hide packs during the day and released at night to guard the camp. The dog was never successfully transplanted or bred outside of Tahltan Territory although it was often attempted.
Tahltan Bear Dogs were especially adept at winter hunting because of their lightness and small size which enabled them to run on top of the snow. They could track animals or help to herd them back to the Tahltan hunter. The little dog was bred to be a hunter and was especially known for its bravery in attacking and chasing off bears or holding them at bay for the Tahltan hunter.

“Chips,” a Tahltan Bear Dog, c. 1935.
Photo: BC Archives
During the 1930s, the population of Tahltan Bear Dogs increased due to the efforts of two police commissioners at Telegraph Creek. They succeeded in getting the breed recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1939. But later a “shepard’s law” was introduced in Telegraph Creek to permit the animals to be shot on sight to quell their yapping. The result was the extermination of the Talhtan Bear Dog. The usual diet of the Tahltan Bear Dog was small bits of birds, meat and fish and they flourished in the bitter northern cold. Outside their native environment, the dogs suffered from distemper, heat prostration and problems due to dietary changes. As whites moved into Tahltan Territory, bringing a variety of other dogs, the Tahltan Bear Dog became increasingly of mixed race.

Two young Tahltan Bear Dogs, c. 1940.
Photo: BC Archives

Tahltan bear claw head dress, Upper Stikine River.
Photo: Burke Museum of Ethnology

Nanuk (right) with tourist trophy hunter, 1931.
Photo: BC Archives
Stikine grizzly. Painting by Mark Hobson.
Photo: Mark Hobson
The Tahltan were skillful hunters with an intimate knowledge of their game and its habitat. They had sophisticated hunting methods including fences, snaring, deadfalls and stalking. Spears and bows and arrows were used as primary weapons. See: Tahltan Hunting Practices, Tahltan Nation CD Rom.

Nanuk, Talhtan guide and hunter, Glenora, 1931.
Photo: BC Archives
The hunter naturalist Allan Brooks was an early English settler in southern BC who became an internationally recognized bird artist. In 1919 he went on a hunting expedition to the Queen Charlotte Islands that included a trip up the Stikine River to Telegraph Creek. Here he collected specimens of the Bohemian waxwing which he later used as models for an ornithological illustration (right).
In pursuit of record breaking trophy heads, many wealthy European and American big game hunters travelled by boat to Telegraph Creek where they hired Tahltan guides to take them into the Cassiar to hunt mountain sheep, goats, caribou and moose. In 1945 the business magnate Richard Mellon of Pittsburg even brought along his own taxidermist to ensure his trophies were properly preserved.
Many of the habitat dioramas featured in the grand natural history museums of Europe and North America display stuffed big game animals from the Cassiar. Also in private trophy collections, the heads and horns of Cassiar big game animals are among the most highly valued objects. Nanuk, an acclaimed Tahltan hunter and guide often appeared in photos taken by tourist hunters to document their trophy heads (left). By contrast, for the Tahltan, moose hunting and meat provided nutritional and spiritual sustenance. “Moose was another main source of meat in our diet. Before we had guns, moose were very difficult to kill. The older people tell us that for a long time there were very few moose in our country. It was as if they had all left our country. But now they are plentiful again. Moose has remained a main food in our diet, even today” Tahltan Nation CD Rom.

Illustration by Alan Brooks.
H. Swarth, Zoological Report, 1926

Tahltan guides & tourist hunter (right) with his trophies, c. 1943.
Photo: BC Archives
The Stone sheep is one of the four bighorn sheep species located on the four continents of the world whose heads are required to become a member of the exclusive American “Grand Slam Club.” Outfitters in Tahltan Territory have provided service to tourist hunters for over one hundred years. See a gallery of BC Stone sheep trophy heads: Collingwood Brothers Guides & Outfitters. Even the Guide Outfitters Association, one of the most powerful outdoor lobby groups in BC, cannot enforce a mining moratorium to protect the habitat of the big game animals that are prized world wide as prestigious hunting trophies (right). Tahltan guides who appear in the photo on the left are: (from the left) Ned Brooks, Ben Frank and Old Dennis (the tourist hunter is unidentified). The traditional tracking skills and hunting knowledge of the Tahltan guides were seldom acknowledged by the tourist hunters who hired them. Nor were the Tahltan paid for the true value of the trophies.
Ben Frank had an intimate knowledge of his hunting grounds and he advised on determining the boundaries of Tahltan Territory: “You have to stick up for land claims – we paid for this land with our blood” Tahltan Nation CD Rom.

Stone sheep killed in Tahltan Territory.
Photo: Collingwood Brothers

Iskut Oscar Dennis on the lower Stikine River.
Photo: Sarah Leen Oscar Dennis belongs to the Tehkahche (Frog Family) and is a spokesperson for the Tl’abanot’in Clan of Iskut First Nation. He is doing graduate research on Tahltan funerary rites at the University of Northern BC: First Nations Studies.
A photo featured in an article on the Stikine by ethnobotanist Wade Davis in National Geographic (March 2004) shows Oscar Dennis holding his grandfather’s rifle in the bow of a boat on the lower Stikine River (left). The article was seen by millions of people and read in 27 languages around the world and the photograph won an international award: Pictures of the Year. All this good publicity did nothing to stop Fortune Minerals Ltd. from invading the Klappan Valley in 2005, the traditional territory of the Tl’abanot’in Clan.

Gulf Oil trucks in the Klappan and Groundhog coalfields, Iskut, Talhtan Territory, 1980s.
Photo: Gary Fiegehen

The Klappan Groundhog Tenure was explored by Gulf in the 1980s (above). Today Klappan Valley has four huge mining projects planned by Shell, Fortune Minerals, West Hawk and bcMetals (Imperial Metals). All of these corporations have disregarded the Tahltan Moratorium of 25 February 2005: Talhtan Elders Statement. Likewise the BC government displayed its greed and disrespect for the Moratorium when its Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum celebrated the new opportunities for the $6 billion mining industry in BC at the Toronto Stock Exchange on 19 April 2006 (right).

Mountain goat, Tahltan Territory.
Photo: Gary Fiegehen
Dubious applause, 19 April 2006.
Photo: British Columbia Ministry of Energy
“Older Tahltans tell of how goats [left] were hunted long ago, when we still used bows, arrows, and spears to hunt. Our men used to watch the animals to see where they liked to eat during the different seasons. They watched to see which trail the animals used the most. And they watched to see if there was any pattern to the way the animals travelled” Hunting Methods Tahltan Nation CD Rom. No treaty exists that extinquishes Aboriginal Title and the refusal to accomodate traditional Tahltan land use including hunting and fishing is a perilous course of action with ramifications in future legal judgements.

MiningWatch Canada warns about the unprecedented campaign for access to explore and develop new mineral properties: Assault on First Nation Lands. The Klappan coalfield near Iskut contains a rich deposit of two billion tonnes of high quality anthracite coal, one of the largest in the world. In 2005 Shell paid the BC government $10 million for the rights to drill up to 6,000 wells here. Coalbed methane production has an abysmal environmental track record and is known for endangering human health. See the August 2006 report: “Coalbed Methane: A BC Local Government Guide” West Coast Environmental Law.
A German environmental group has a campaign against Shell Canada (right). See: Robinwood. Part of the 20th century industrial growth and wealth of the Netherlands was fueled by Royal Dutch Shell’s exploitation of the natural resources of the Dutch colony of Sumatra and today its stockholders continue to profit from its unethical worldwide practices.
Butt off Shell.
Photo: Robinwood


Archival Album

Taku Tlingit
Celebrating the landmark ruling on the Taku River Tlingit and the Haida by the Supreme Court of Canada on 18 November 2004. Congratulatory speeches being given on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery on 25 November 2004 following “The Spirit of the Earth” symbolic procession. Photo: Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Treaty 8
Chief Liz Logan (right) of the Council of the Fort Nelson First Nations attending the Aboriginal Title and Rights Rally in Victoria on 24 May 2004. Chief Logan is Deputy Chief of Treaty 8 and Advisor to the Council of Treaty 8 Chiefs. On the left is Penticton Indian Band Chief Stuart Philip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. Photo: Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Nicole Manuel and her two sons being evicted from their Skwelkwek’welt home in Secwepemc Territory by the RCMP and Sun Peaks Development Corporation on 10 December 2001, the International Day of Human Rights. Nicole is the granddaughter of Chief George Manuel, a leader of the international indigenous rights movement. Photo: Skwelkwek’welt Protection Centre | Development

Development Eagleridge Bluffs

Human Rights Abuse
First Nations elder Harriet Nahanee (1935 – 2007) was jailed in January 2007 for trying to protect Squamish Territory. See subchapter: Eagleridge Bluffs. Her already fragile health quickly deteriorated in prison and following her release, she suddenly became critically ill. A public vigil (right) was held for the Pacheedaht warrior at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on 23 February 2007, but she passed away the next day.

“Ohkubo GO HOME,” 23 July 2001.
Photo: Carie St. Pierre
Harriet Nahanee Vigil, 23 February 2007.
Photo: Rob Baxter
Adams Lake elder Irene Billy was arrested and photographed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on 23 July 2001 (left) for protesting against the expansion of Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, a mega ski development owned by the Japanese “Ohkubo” Company. Also arrested for their non violent protest against the destruction of their traditional hunting and gathering grounds were Charlie Willard, Henry Sauls and George Manuel Jr., son of the international indigenous rights leader George Manuel. The Secwepemc are regularly incarcerated on the contrieved grounds of not obeying injunction orders, the legal ploy of choice of big business – government to throttle peaceful protest. See chapter: Secwepemc.

Resource Theft

Title and Rights Rally, Victoria, 23 June 2004.
Photo: Union of BC Indian Chiefs
By Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Website: Rocking Raven
Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas depicts the monster of gluttony that is stealing the resources of First Nations in BC (above). On 23 June 2004, indigenous peoples from across BC attended a rally in Victoria (left). They were protesting against the “sweeping amendments to the Forest Act and to the legal framework for forest practices, land use planning and land designations without meaningful consultation and accommodation of indigenous peoples” Title and Rights Alliance. The punitive new legislation against indigenous rights was enacted by Mike de Young, then still minister of forestry, to give corporations more power to manage the BC forests for their own benefit.

Logging companies continue to make illegal 3rd party deals and ignore the Supreme Court of Canada rulings on Aboriginal Title and Rights. On 31 January 2007, Western Forest Products (WFP) had the BC government remove over 28,000 hectares of land from three tree farm licences without the knowledge or consent of the Kwakiutl. This land is protected by the Kwakiutl’s 1852 Douglas Treaty and to protest against the blatant infringement of their rights, on 12 February 2007 the Kwakiutl Band travelled to Victoria and demonstrated at the BC Legislature (right). See subchapter: Kwakiutl Protest. The unscrupulous WFP logged contested Kwakiutl land that had been under a 30 year moratorium, then manoeuvered a ten dollar giveaway lease to Polaris, an equally disreputable company. Polaris has engineered the removal an entire mountain in Kwakiutl Territory to export as industrial gravel to California. Not only has the valuable Cluxewe Watershed been deforested and degraded by corporate greed, but at risk is a precious salmon bearing river and the ancient Kwakiutl village site at its mouth.
Kwakiutl protest, 12 February 2007, Victoria.
Photo: Don Knight

Kwakiutl Chief Rupert Wilson, 2007.
Photo: Karen Wonders
Chief Rupert Wilson recalls how the Kwakiutl were squeezed out of the commercial fishing industry at Port Hardy. The same thing happened when the Kwakiutl began working in the logging industry: once the profit making was chanelled to the private companies and unions were organized, the native people were again excluded. This repressive scenario is replayed by the Norwegian dominated fish farm industry that has invaded and polluted Kwakiutl waters during the past two decades. Few of the companies make an effort to give jobs to the Kwakiutl. Chief Wilson does not hesitate to blame his community’s terrible loss of economic self sufficiency on the racist policies of the governments of BC and Canada. He says “Just look around and you can see how everyone is getting rich on lands stolen from us and yet they even refuse to employ First Nations people.” Hereditary Kwakiutl Chief Rupert Wilson (left) attended the annual meeting of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs on 23 October 2007. There the distinguished and fluent speaker of Kwakwala stood up and accused the Dutch settler Mike de Jong (former BC minister of forestry, new minister of aboriginal relations) of “killing us with words.” Chief Wilson further charged the minister with enacting policies that “rob us of our resources.” He described the devious plot orchestrated by the logging industry that involves bankrolling certain natives who are then officially appointed as “coordinators” by the government and planted in band councils where they are given kickbacks for negotiating lucrative logging deals.
Chief Rupert Wilson has not seen any of the benefits of “development” improve the lives of the Kwakiutl people. Instead he notes how one resource industry after the other has invaded his territory and destroyed both the livelihood of the Kwakiutl and the resource itself. Within his own life time, he has witnessed how his father’s hereditary family trapline along the coastline was taken away by the government as well as his Douglas Treaty protected right to fish.

Logs at Port Hardy, Kwakiutl Territory.
Photo: BC Ministry of Forestry

Heritage Destruction
While “development” is a positive word to settlers, the opposite is true to First Nations. They have seen how development is the brutal means by which their people and cultures have been violated. Human rights abuse and resource theft are two examples; a third is heritage destruction. Lekwungen activist Cheryl Bryce (right) has led a battle to save a sacred aboriginal cave on a mountain known by the Coast Salish as SPAET from being destroyed by the greedy developers of Bear Mountain Resort.

SPAET cave before destruction in 2006.
Photo: Paul Griffith
Songhees activist Cheryl Bryce, 2006.
Photo: Don Knight
SPAET cave (left) is located 20 minutes from the BC Legislature in Victoria on Vancouver Island. Until 2001, much of SPAET was classified as a “Forest Lands Reserve.” Murky machinations between the BC government and the logging company Western Forest Products resulted in SPAET falling into the grasp of unethical land speculators. As a result, the mountain has been sacrificed to a development consortium that is destroying both its ecology and Coast Salish archaeological heritage. The sacred cave close to the summit of SPAET was dynamited and blown up at Christmas 2006. See subchapter: SPAET.

SPAET was renamed “Skirt” in 1855 by the first colonial surveyor, an Irish settler who with staggering conceit took “Crown” possession of the land. SPAET includes the two watersheds of the once rich salmon bearing Millstream and Goldstream Rivers. Today both watersheds are under severe encroachment by urban sprawl; highways, housing tracts, strip malls and golf courses. Worst is the damage to the summit and slopes of SPAET where Bear Mountain Resort is ravaging the land for a huge 1,200 acre development that includes 40 floor condo towers. Two dynamite engineers are seen at one of the many blasting sites (right, red circle).
The SPAET devastation results from a dubious land transfer scheme between government and big business. See MLA John Horgan’s condemnation: The Tree Farm Giveaway. The extent to which local Langford politicians have served the logging and development corporations, invading and wrecking SPAET, is documented by historian Ben Isitt in his revealing investigative report: Bear Mountain Interchange.

Bear Mountain Resort, August, 2007.
Photo: Karen Wonders (Click to enlarge)

SPAET Stand, 16 November 2006.
Photo: anon
On 16 November 2006, a First Nations stand took place at Bear Mountain Resort to protest against the desecration of SPAET cave. First Nations Leadership Council members included Chief Judith Sayers (above, with sunglasses). Local media filmed Songhees Cheryl Bryce speaking to a developer (above, balding with glasses) while a “red necked” RCMP officer monitored the concerned participants (right).
SPAET Stand, 16 November 2006.
Photo: anon

“Greed,” Bear Mountain Resort, December 2007.
Photo: Flickr (Click to enlarge)
On the highest southern slopes of SPAET, the president of Bear Mountain Corporation (a former hockey player) is constructing an opulent fortress-like house for himself with grand views over the entire region, reminiscent of a European feudal king’s mountain top castle (below).

Bear Mountain president’s house, 2007.
Photo: Ingmar Lee “Greed” reads the caption of the Flickr photo of the construction of Bear Mountain Resort taken in November 2007 (left). Blasting off a mountain top and obliterating native forests with rare and endangered groves of native arbutus trees and Garry oaks is a crude display of commercial power. Advertised as western Canada’s largest “master planned community,” the nature destroying development features wasteful golf courses, thousands of luxury homes and condos, and a hotel complex with over indulgent amenities.

Bear Mountain president’s entry gates, 2007.
Photo: Karen Wonders
The hockey jock’s McMansion is being built on blasted and terraced land (left). Signs saying “Keep Out” are posted at his triple lane high security entry gates (above). Overlooking the golfing wasteland, this monster house is the ultimate status symbol of crude material success. But opinions are changing with greater awareness of the environmental catastrophe facing Earth. Conspicuous cases of dubiously obtained wealth, especially at the expense of limited resources, are no longer held in high esteem. Also hockey stars are held accountable; a few have even made “Green partnerships” with the David Suzuki Foundation: News Release (7 December 2007).

Bear Mountain Resort ad, NYT, 2007.
Photo: Karen Wonders (red text added)
Bear Mountain Corporation perpetuates the abuse of indigenous people by trammeling their rightful jurisdiction over SPAET. It is yet another clandestine and unethical land grab that deprives the Coast Salish of their constitutionally protected treaty rights to continue living their lives as before colonization. Resorts are further evidence of how the ecological integrity of the land, so important to First Nations, is destroyed by rampant development, whether by resource extraction or urban sprawl. Bear Mountain Corporation is stripping SPAET of its traditional function as a hunting and gathering grounds by bulldozing down its forests for housing tracts and blasting off its summit for a recreation resort for wealthy American golfers. An example of the over indulgence and waste is the Quigg eight hectare antilevered winery for which native arbutus groves were destroyed (right). Described as a “trophy location” and a “life style community,” Bear Mountain Resort real estate is being sold internationally in double page colour newspaper ads (left). Grotesque condo towers with pretentious names like “The Highlander” are flogged to foreign buyers who have no knowledge of the controversies behind the nature destroying mega development: land grabs, aboriginal heritage destruction, ecological devastation and the misappropriation of public funds.

Quigg – Bear Mountain Resort ad, 2007.
Photo: Karen Wonders (red text added)

Cheryl Bryce, Nahanee Memorial, 1 March 2007.
Photo: G. T. Wm. Edwards Songhees lands manager Cheryl Bryce accuses the BC government of deliberately failing to protect sacred aboriginal sites such as SPAET cave: “I do not see the issues at hand with the Heritage Conservation Act as being related to outdated legislation but as a perpetuation of colonialism. It is legislation that was not created by indigenous people nor was it meaningfully inclusive of indigenous people in the decision making process; as such, it does not adequately ensure political will to protect indigenous sites or rights” Heritage Conservation Act.
SPAET cave was destroyed during Christmas 2006. The following month – January 2007 – the First Nations elder and activist Harriet Nahanee was jailed for trying to save Eagleridge Bluffs from highway development. Tragically, soon after her release, Harriet fell ill and passed away 24 February 2007. A memorial held for Harriet in Vancouver was attended by Cheryl Bryce who spoke of the need to honour her legacy (left). See subchapter: Harriet Nahanee. On 2 March 2007 a protest against Bear Mountain Interchange was held on the Trans Canada Highway in Victoria. Dedicated to the memory of Harriet Nahanee, it was attended by both natives and non natives united against nature destruction: Press Release.

Bear Mountain Resort destruction, 2007.
Photo: Karen Wonders
Bear Mountain Resort’s golfing “greens” will contaminate SPAET with pesticides and other chemicals. Already the nearby Highwest Waste Recycler Ltd. is Canada’s largest emitter of the extremely toxic chemical dioxin. As water guzzlers and polluters, golf courses are the focus of protest worldwide. One 18 hole golf course consumes 5,000 cubic metres of water a day – enough for 2,000 families – says the Global Anti Golf Movement. First Nations in BC are leading the environmental and indigenous rights battle to protect and stewart water as a precious natural community resource instead of the “depletion, diversion and pollution” that is the hallmark of colonial mismanagement. Evidence of this dismal failure is the catastrophic decline of wild salmon runs. Bear Mountain Corporation is blasting and leveling SPAET for unethical and unsustainable real estate development. Bulldozed housing tracts form deep ugly scars in the mountainside (left). Other areas have been ravaged for golf courses and laticed with thousands of metres of irrigation hosing with no regard for limited water resources. Songhees lands manager Cheryl Bryce informed the Resort developers of her concern over the ecological damage being done: Report on SPAET Water.

Aboriginal Heritage Destruction.
Photo: anon (red text added)

Chief Chris Tom and Paul Griffiths, 2006.
Photo: G. T. Wm. Edwards The massive development of SPAET will harm the precious salmon run at Goldstream River, further killing off the Chum fishery that has been used by the Saanich Nation for countless generations. This destruction of living aboriginal heritage is matched by Bear Mountain Resort’s brutal blowing up of rare archaeological features such as the sacred Coast Salish cave and guardian rocks. Tsartlip Chief Chris Tom discusses the crisis caused by the belligerent attitude of the Resort developers with speleologist Paul Griffiths (left). International criticism of BC’s failure to protect the cave has been forthcoming: Crisis of SPAET Cave.
According to historian Ben Isitt, SPAET has been wrecked by a series of secretly negotiated deals and backroom political machinations that serve corporate interests: Bear Mountain Interchange.

Tsartlip lands manager Wendy Edwards (right) was present at the predawn SPAET Stand to stop Bear Mountain Resort from bulldozing the sacred cave on 16 November 2006. She was terrified to find herself alone in the darkness on the mountainside as she tried to flee the guard dogs used by the Resort’s security officers to hunt down protesters. From the respected Paul Family, Wendy is traditionally trained by Tsartlip elders and she has a hereditary duty to ensure her seven children and all other Tsartlip youth have land and resources. The Tsartlip Village overlooks Saanich Inlet with a view of the ominous Bamberton development site, rejected in 1997 by Saanich Nation but now revived by Three Point Properties. See subchapter: YOS. Wendy has called for an investigation into the role played by former BC lands minister Bob Flitton at Bamberton and at Bear Mountain Resort.
In an interview, Wendy Edwards explained that the Tsartlip had never been properly consulted about an archaeological assessment either by Bear Mountain Resort or by Langford. The Tsartlip are furthermore concerned over the Resort’s ecological footprint and the new highway interchange being built to serve it. The Goldsream Watershed and its ecosystems are vital to the Tsartlip people: “What’s going to happen in the future to our Goldstream? Goldstream is so important … It’s our food, our ceremonies, our right.” See: Bear Mountain Road Showdown (Tyee, 17 December 2007).

Tsartlip Wendy (Paul) Edwards, 2007.
Photo: Karen Wonders

“Honour the Coast Salish,” 29 June 2007.
Photo: Karen Wonders (red text added) On 29 June 2007, to mark the Aboriginal National Day of Action in Canada, First Nations activists draped a banner with the message “Honour the Coast Salish” on a half a million dollar show house at Bear Mountain Resort. RCMP officers moved in quickly to remove the peaceful protestors, one of them a Heiltsuk woman from Bella Bella who explained: “I wanted people to feel what it felt like to have something taken from them right underneath their noses. A lot of indigenous people have accepted developments like this all across Canada without any debate or fight. And now we’re asking developers to respect the people whose land they’re on.” Bob Flitton, Bear Mountain Resort spokesman, arrogantly turned his back on the protesters and their cries of “shame.” Flitton, a former deputy minister of lands and an agent for Western Forest Products, had a major role in ramrodding through the Resort. See his profile of murky dealings: Robert D. Flitton.

SPAET – Coast Salish Lands and Heritage
Destroyed by Rampant Real Estate Development

SPAET indigenous land
Coast Salish SPAET degraded
Bear Mountain Resort SPAET cave
Songhees Cheryl Bryce

SPAET damage witnessed
Chief Judith Sayers (left) SPAET cave desecrated
Christmas 2006 Langford Lake cave
Coast Salish heritage

Coast Salish elder
Bear Mountain protest “protester Nahanee dies”
Bear Mountain protest Tsartlip Chief Chris Tom
Bear Mountain protest

Bear Mountain Parkway
Bear Mountain Interchange Bear Mountain Interchange
City of Langford Bear Mountain Interchange
Highway protest banner

SPAET degraded by Langford subdivisions and urban sprawl, 2007.
Photo: anon

Bear diorama, Royal BC Museum.
Photo: Karen Wonders
Every year in BC, over one thousand black bears are officially killed as “nuisance” animals. Bears are increasingly deprived of their homes by clearcut logging, mining and urban sprawl. Bear Mountain Resort has destroyed a key habitat for large animals such as bears and cougars. Soon tourists visiting BC will be restricted to museums to see how these animals live in the wild (above). Also vanishing from the landscape are the culturally modified trees (CMTs), important marks of indigenous use and occupation. A number of these valuable aboriginal heritage trees will be cut down and destroyed by the construction of Bear Mountain Interchange (right).
CMT, Bear Mountain Interchange, 2007.
Photo: Ingmar Lee

“Langford,” painting by Emily Carr, 1939.
Art Gallery of Alberta Artist Emily Carr is world renowned for her scenes which celebrate BC wilderness forests and aboriginal culture. One of her favourite sketching places close to her home in Victoria was Goldstream Park, where a remnant old growth rainforest survived. She also painted the nearby forests at Langford, where she saw how the ancient trees were ruthlessly felled for agricultural land (left). Little is left in Langford of the magnificent native forests and it seems criminal not to protect the surviving trees. But nature protection measures are given no respect by Langford’s gung ho developers – politicians, a scenario repeated in municipalities across BC. The situation has become so urgent that some are calling for a government imposed moratorium on all land sales and development in BC.

“Save Sacred Salish Sites,” 2 March 2006.
Photo: Don Knight
Until 2001, much of SPAET was a mature Douglas fir forest, part of a “Green Belt” protected by the Forest Land Reserve. Langford deviously circumvented the long term Goldstream and Millstream Watershed protection plans desired by a majority of residents in the region as well as community initiatives to restrict growth according to environmental factors. Instead, with no regard to limited water resouces, Langford promotes a population growth of 10 to 14,000 at the subdivision it calls “Bear Mountain” and 5 to 7,000 at the adjacent subdivision it calls “Skirt Mountain.”
Shocked by the plague of nature destruction and real estate development around Victoria, there has been an outpouring of support for SPAET by non natives. See subchapter: SPAET. They see in the dishonest behaviour of the Langford politicians who serve the greedy developers a deeply rooted contempt for the indigenous peoples that the government’s sanctimonious rhetoric about a “new relationship” fails to whitewash. Support groups include: Parents and Children for the Earth, Coalition to Protect Goldstream Watershed, Spaet Mountain Action Coalition; Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network and Friends of Spencer Pond. The Bear Mountain Treesit is a resistance camp set up in the path of the planned highway interchange (right). One protester at the 2 March 2006 rally against the Bear Mountain Interchange carried the sign “Save Sacred Salish Sites” (left). Urban sprawl not only destroys aboriginal heritage, it reduces the land base available to First Nations in their pursuit of a just treaty resolution with BC. Much urban sprawl – like Bear Mountain Resort – occurs on contested indigenous land. In addition to being unethical, the transformation of SPAET to urban subdivisions burdens the existing infrastructures, not least adding to region’s annual pumping of some 34 billion litres of raw sewage into the sea.

Bear Mountain treesit, 2007.
Photo: Chris Cook

Eagleridge Bluffs


Coast Salish
An ancient Coast Salish village and cemetery site being illegally destroyed in 2003 on South Pender Island by the developer of Poets Cove Resort and Spa. In 2005 the developer was charged with violating the 1996 Heritage Conservation Act, the first time that the government has attempted to enforce the Act. This landmark First Nations case is ongoing.
Photo: Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group | Development | Coast Salish

Coast Salish SPAET
Kuper Island

Coast Salish peoples inhabit the Northwest Coast of North America, from the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon, north to Bute Inlet in British Columbia. Coast Salish territories includes much of the ecologically diverse Georgia Basin and Puget Sound known as the Salish Sea (right). This huge drainage basin comprises the coastal mainland and Vancouver Island from Campbell River and Georgia Strait south through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Lower Fraser Valley and the lowlands of Puget Sound. Archaeological evidence of human occupation in this coastal marine area is extensive and ancient, dating back some 8000 years.

First Nations map by Franz Boas.
Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen, 1887
Salish Sea, Coast Salish Territory.
Georgia Basin Action Plan
Coast Salish territories are demarked in pink in one of the first tribal maps of BC, published in 1887 by the ethnologist Franz Boas (left). Among all First Nations, Coast Salish peoples have been the most displaced by the forces of colonization.

Coast Salish territories were divided in 1848 by an artificial boundary between Canada and the USA and large populations of settlers formed at Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle and elsewhere (right). These areas are predicted to grow by about 40 percent over the next 20 years, so the problem of urban sprawl “development” and its destruction of First Nations heritage will become increasingly contentious.
An indigenous mission to “restore, preserve and protect our shared environment and natural resources in our ancestorial homelands – the Salish Sea” has resulted in a number of annual gatherings. “Our ancestors have passed down the traditional teachings of songs, dances, and spiritual ceremonies that depict our identity and strengths of our peoples. Our sacred trust has been given to us from our ancestors and defines our role as protectors of our Mother Earth. We are entrusted with the protection and sustainability of environment and natural resources of our ancestral lands and waters of the Salish Sea. Over the decades our lands and waters have been severely impact by pollution that affects our culture, food, health, and economy. Most importantly hurting our elders who have relied on these since the beginning of time and threatening the lifeways of our children’s future” Coast Salish Gathering.

Tribal Canoe Journey.
Skokomish Tribal Nation

“Natural Gallery,” Descano Bay, Gabriola Island.
Engraving by J. Cardero, 1792
The artist also portrayed the Snunéymuxw chief from Descano Bay, a stately man clothed in a cloak of woven cedar bark with fur trim and an elaborate headdress(right). The precontact (1775) population of Snunéymuxw people is believed to have been about 5,000. In 1838 a census figure was 1,000. Following the 1849 discovery of coal in the heart of Snunéymuxw Territory, a fortified post was built and in 1854 the Snunéymuxw became the last to sign a Douglas Treaty, for a payment of 538 blankets. In 1876 the Indian Reserve Commission cited a Snunéymuxw population of 223. “One cause of this depopulation was the introduction of infectious diseases for which the Snunéymuxw had no immunity” Snuneymuxw First Nation.
The inhabitants of the Northwest Coast were first represented by European artists in the late 18th century. Artist Jose Cardero accompanied a Spanish expedition by Alessandro Malaspina in 1792. His engraving (left) of a unique geological formation at Descano Bay includes three natives who are taking part in an examination of the ancient petroglyphs found in the “Natural Gallery.”

Snunéymuxw Chief, Descano Bay.
Drawing by J. Cardero, 1792

“Malaspina Gallery,” Descano Bay, Gabriola Island.
Old postcard, c. 1930 Coast Salish languages and dialects include: Northern Salish (Comox, Pentlatch, Sechelt); Central Salish (Squamish, Halkomelem, Nooksack) Northern Straits (SENCOTEN, Sooke, Lekwungen, Lummi); Clallam; and Southern Salish (Lushootseed, Twana). “All Salishan languages are endangered – some extremely so with only three or four speakers left” Salishan Languages.
The fantastic wave washed sandstone formations discovered by Spanish explorers in 1792, “Malaspina Gallery” (left), was rediscovered in 1903 and ever since has been a popular tourist attraction. Many such Coast Salish landmarks have been appropriated and /or vandalized and destroyed by colonists and settlers.

“Return of a War Party,” 1847. Songhees village (left) and Fort Victoria (right).
Painting by Paul Kane (Royal Ontario Museum)

“Che-a-Clack, Chief of the Sangeys,” 1847.
Painting: Paul Kane
When the location for Fort Victoria was selected in 1842, the Coast Salish peoples used the area for hunting, fishing and harvesting plants. Described as “a perfect Eden” by the British colonists, the ancestors of Songhees First Nation had tended and nurtured the land here for centuries before white contact. In 1845 the Lekwungen family groups comprised of about 700 people who lived in villages on bays around what is now Greater Victoria.
Paul Kane painted several interior scenes of the houses in Coast Salish villages. His domestic scene of a Clallam woman weaving a blanket on a loom includes a small white dog in the corner (right). The dog was a special breed, now extinct, used for its wool like fur which was combed and spinned for weaving blandets and material for clothing. Colonial control over the Northwest Coast and the occupation of what is now British Columbia began in 1843 when the Hudson’s Bay Company built Fort Victoria at a place used to harvest willows for fishing nets, called Ku-sing-ay-las. One of the first representations of Fort Victoria was by Paul Kane. His composite painting (above) shows that the Songhees village is equally large and imposing to the fort. Two canoes with Haida warriors are seen paddling into the Songhees harbour from the Juan de Fuca Strait. The fort was an important trading centre for many coastal First Nations who travelled long distances by canoe to visit it.
Paul Kane painted the distinquished Chief Che – a – Clack, also called Cheethlum (left). As Songhees hereditary chief from the 1840s until 1864, he signed the Douglas Treaty of 1850 for the Checkonein Family. They shared the area around the fort with six other families, all of whom signed treaties: Kakyaakan, Teechamitsa, Whyomilth, Kosampson, Swengwhung and Chelcowitch. All spoke a North Straits Salish dialect called Lekwungen. Today they are represented by the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations.

Clallam woman weaving, 1848.
Painting by Paul Kane (Royal Ontario Museum)

Aboriginal village & defensive site, Finlayson Point.
Illustration: Gordon Friesen
Not far from the ancient cliffside site (above) is Clover Point, the landing spot of the first colonizers of Vancouver Island. The abundant native red clover they discovered here was highly valued by the Lekwungen who harvested its rhizomes as food source. Today this species has disappeared from all of the coastline: Where Has All the Clover Gone? Standing at Finlayson Point today, one can imagine how the native landscape might have looked before it was converted for agriculture and stripped of its rich biodiversity (right). Lekwungen people lived in a village and defensive site on Finlayson Point (left) beginning about 800 or 900 years before Fort Victoria was built. Burial cairns of huge boulders marked the hillside above this site, likely created during the 18th century to bury victims of smallpox epidemics. Over the years, settlers desecrated the graves and moved the cairns. Today this sacred Songhees area is part of Beacon Hill Park and little evidence remains of the thousand years of native occupation. See how the pre-contact Lekwungen landscape may have looked: Beacon Hill Park Illustrations.

Virtual view of Finlayson Point, 2005.
Photo: Don Bain (Click for QuickTime)

“Indian Graves, Victoria,” 1854.
Drawing: W. McMurtie (Boston Museum of Fine Arts)
A Songhees grave site, likely Deadman’s Point, was sketched in 1859 by Montague Tyrwhitt Drake (right), an early colonist. He became a judge in Victoria, infamous for sentencing the legendary Indian Slumach to death by hanging on 16 January 1891 in New Westminster. Slumach was from the Coquitlam tribe and had become famous for his hidden gold stash. Unable to speak English and illiterate, he had no defence to the fabricated charges against him. His story is told in the 2005 German film “Auf Slumachs Spuren.” For the Europeans, the Lekwungen burial houses and grave figures were objects of curiosity. A sketch of the Indian graves at Laurel Point (left), not far from the present BC Parliament Building, shows wooden figures in protective shelters surrounded by arbutus trees. Like all First Nations gravesites in Victoria, it was vandalized and looted by settlers and quickly disappeared.

Songhees grave site, Victoria, 1859.
Sketch: M. Tyrwhitt Drake (British Museum)

“View of Victoria, Vancouver Island,” 1860.
Day & Son, Lithographers to the Queen (Click to enlarge)

“View of Victoria,” 1860. (detail)
Lithograph: Day & Son, London
First Nations peoples vastly outnumbered settlers in 1860, yet almost no sign of their presence can be seen in the panorama of Victoria. Located across the harbour from the bastion of Fort Victoria was the Songhees village (above). Barely visible are five canoes (right) each with a dozen paddlers who must have had a remarkable knowledge and endurance to travel such long distances. The Songhees had originally lived adjacent to the stockaded fort, but they were forced to move their village across the harbour so that it would be within firing range of the bastion’s canons. The European takeover of the Colony of Vancouver Island began in 1851 with the appointment of the Colonial Surveyor. Without extinguishing Aboriginal Title, the Lekwungen land around Fort Victoria was surveyed and mapped. A panorama view of Victoria (above) produced in 1860 asserted British title over the Queen’s new colony. It was followed by similar engravings published in the popular illustrated press to promote settlement in BC.

“View of Victoria,” 1860. (detail)
Lithograph by Day & Son

Fort Victoria was attacked by First Nations warriors in 1844. The assault was led by the legendary Tzouhalum, one of the most fierce chiefs of the Cowichan First Nation. He was angry that the colonial authorities had tried to collect damages from him for some cows that had been killed by his people. Such conflicts became more frequent as settlers began fencing in and ruining traditional hunting and gathering grounds for their domesticated animals and crops. The Cowichan warrior is remembered by Mount Tzouhalum, where he was said to have sought refuge in a cave.
James Squameyugs was born c. 1797 (right). He was Songhees chief from 1864 until his death in 1892. Chief Squameyugs (his name means Grand Fir Tree), was a survivor of the Victoria smallpox crisis of 1862, one of the greatest tragedies in Northwest Coast history that caused the annihilation of up to two thirds of the indigenous population. The government forced infected Indians who were visiting Victoria to return to their villages, ensuring the epidemic’s spread. Many believe it was a deliberate act to weaken First Nations resistance to the conquest of their land. The Douglas Treaty signed by Chief Squameyugs did not protect his people from colonial efforts to remove them from their village at Songhees Point in 1858 and 1874. Chief Squameyugs vowed never to be carried alive from his home and it was not until a decade after his death that the relocation was carried out, under the guise of a celebration.
Songhees Chief Squameyuqs, c. 1866.
Photo: BC Archives

Coal Tyee (centre) and his family, c. 1860.
Photo: BC Archives Chief Squameyugs and the Songhees people never benefited from the massive profits made from the subdivision and selling of their land. Nor did the Snuneymuxw people at Nanaimo receive any benefits from their coal rich land despite being promised by the colonists: “The good Queen, our great white chief, far over the water, will look after your people for all time, and they will be given much money so that they will never be poor” Douglas Treaty (Snuneymuxw First Nation).
A photo taken c. 1860 of Coal Tyee (left), the Snuneymuxw discoverer of coal at Nanaimo, shows that he did not even have shoes. Chief Dick Whoakum, who signed the 1854 Douglas Treaty, testified in 1913 that none of the Snuneymuxw had ever been compensated for the highly valued coal that was taken from them or for the loss of their land: McKenna McBride Report.

“Nature’s Monument.” Engraving, 1888.
Source:Canadian Pictures
Colonial conquest was symbolized by illustrations of landmarks such the one sketched by the Governor General of Canada during his visit to the Northwest Coast in 1888, which he named as “Nature’s Monument” (above). Note the diminutive Coast Salish canoes. Renamed “Siwash Rock” after the Chinook Jargon word for Indian, today it is a popular viewpoint on the seawall in Stanley Park (right). In the distance, the sprawl of North Vancouver can be seen.
S’i’lix (Siwash Rock), 2006.
Photo: Nealy J.

Mary Agnes Capilano (c. 1836 – 1940).
Painting: Darlena Warhurst-Metz
The Musqueam warrior Capilano (giyeplénexw) was famous for having fought the ferocious invading Lekwiltok warriors from Kwakwaka’wakw Territory. A carving representing Capilano (right) was photographed in 1898 at the Musqueam village located on present day Point Grey. The huge cedar house post was said to have been carved at the Capilano River in North Vancouver and towed across the Burrard Inlet to support a beam in a house built by Capilano II, the nephew of Capilano. Standing beside the house post is Charlie, Capilano III, nephew of Capilano II.
“As an urban first nation, Musqueam lands and resources have always been coveted by others. We look around today, and see that over the last 130 years they have largely been taken by government, without proper compensation, and given to others … the intensity of the dispossession effort directed at Musqueam lands and resources perhaps explains why Musqueam was one of the first to challenge the government in court” Musqueam Nation Legal Cases.
One of the chapters in Legends of Vancouver (1911) by the Mohawk writer Pauline E. Johnson was called The Siwash Rock. The Squamish legend of the origins of the rock had been told to Pauline by Joe Capilano (c. 1840 – 1910) and his wife Mary Agnes Capilano (left). In 1906 Chief Capilano led a delegation to England with Cowichan Chief Charley Isipaymilt and Secwepemc Chief Basil David to meet King Edward VI and speak of the urgent need to settle the land question in BC.
In 1936 the government transfered the Capilano Indian Reserve in North Vancouver to British Pacific Properties Ltd. which constructed the Lions Gate Bridge and other projects. The first English monarchs to come to Canada attended a ceremony for the new bridge in 1939 but they ignored Mary Capilano, the First Nations matriarch.

Musqueam house post of Capilano, 1898.
Photo: American Museum of Natural History

North Vancouver surveyors, 1893.
Photo: BC Archives Within a short period after colonization, the traditional hunting and fishing grounds in what is now Greater Vancouver were destroyed by the combined forces of logging, mining, saw mills, fish canneries, urban sprawl and hydro dams. The Capilano Logging Company cleared most of the ancient forests of North Vancouver, leaving a vast wasteland of stumps that was slash burned in preparation for surveyors to subdivide (left).
Colonial land speculators who made a fortune from their illicit activities included the first attorney general and supreme court justice of the colony of BC, the first mayor of New Westminster; the first secretary of the treasury, the first Indian Superintendent, and so on. All got Indian land for cheap and sold it at great profit, setting up a model of exploitation that continues today.

“Deadman’s Island, Vancouver,” 1899.
Painting: T. M. Martin Deadman’s Island off Stanley Park in Vancouver was an ancient Coast Salish burial site where the corpses were placed in cedar boxes hoisted high up in the branches of trees (left). In the 1860s whalers began using the island to process their slain whales and settlers began coal mining nearby. They used the island as their cemetary until 1888 when it became a quarantine site for small pox victims. In 1899 the island was stolen by a settler who set up a sawmill and clearcut its ancient trees. In 1930 Deadman’s Island reverted to federal title and became a naval station. In 2005 it was claimed by Musequem First Nation.

“Eburne Indian Midden,” 1908.
Photo: Vancouver City Archives
As waves of settlers flooded the Fraser River delta, the ancient forests were logged, the land was burned and cleared, surveyed and bisected by railroads and roads and real estate development. Hundreds of sawmills, canneries and other factories were set up, many still operating today. By 1929, a huge industrial centre known as Marpole had subsumed the Eburne Midden. Urban and industrial sprawl on the Fraser River delta has also destroyed the abundant Musequeum salmon stocks. See: Musqueum Fisheries.
Much of Vancouver is built on vast shell middens and other ancient archaeological sites. Urban sprawl has obliterated most of this powerful evidence of Aboriginal Title. Located at the mouth of the Fraser River was a 3,500 year old site discovered in 1889, called the “Eburne Midden,” the largest in North America. Hundreds of human remains were excavated as well as ceremonial artifacts – sculptured stone bowls, bone and antler carvings, copper ornaments – indicating a rich and sophisticated cultural life (left).

Sawmill at Eburne, 1912.
Photo: Vancouver City Archives

The desecration of ancient middens and burial sites continues at an alarming rate in BC due to increasing urban sprawl: roads, subdivisions, golf courses, resorts, etc. Sustained environmentally destructive development often takes place on contested land that is either Crown land owned by the public, private land pre empted by settlers, or Indian Reserve land alienated by the government. The deeply entrenched colonial process is epitomized by the scandalous deal in 1885 whereby almost one quarter of the most fertile part of Vancouver Island was signed over to a Scottish coal baron. See: E&N Railway Grant (Nanoose First Nation); and Great Land Grab (Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group).
Now that the natural resources of BC have been depleted, the government is increasingly transfering Crown land to real estate developers. Waterfront resorts especially encroach on First Nations heritage sites. A shocking instance occurred at Craig Bay in Nanoose Territory (right) where in 1995 burial remains were secretly dumped by Intrawest Development Corporation. In protest the Nanoose people organized the “Qil xe ma:t Blockade” and initiated a court case against the developer. In 2003, a similar scandal occured on South Pender Island by the developers of Poets Cove Resort. The legal case against Poets Cove Resort is ongoing. See: Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group.

Craig Bay, 6 September 2006.
Photo: P. Kipper

Totem pole at Songhees Point – detail.
Photo: anon
Chief Cheethlum, who was painted by Paul Kane in 1847, is the great great great grandfather of Cheryl Bryce (right). His longhouse stood at Songhees Point until 1911 when the Songhees were forcibly removed. At the time, Cheryl’s great grandfather, Chief Tommy George, tried to secure the return of his people to their ancestral home, now known as the subdivision of Oak Bay, but was unsuccessful. Today Songhees Point is occupied by condos (Songhees Point Strata) and a luxury hotel (Delta Ocean Pointe Resort).
Cheryl Bryce, Songhees lands manager, has witnessed the continued destruction of aboriginal heritage sites in Victoria due to deliberate ignorance and financial greed. To stop the desecration of the sacred SPAET cave, she organized a blockade on 16 November 2006. See subchapter: SPAET.
First Nations burial grounds around the harbour of BC’s capital city of Victoria were among the first to be desecrated. Traditionally Songhees chiefs were buried at Deadman’s Point, now developed as the Laurel Point Resort. Another urban burial site, Deadman’s Island (Hackett Island), was removed from the Songhees Indian Reserve in 1924 but in 1993 the Songhees successfully reclaimed it.
All that remains to mark the Songhees village that stood on the Victoria harbour until 1911 is a totem pole (left), carved from an ancient cedar tree to celebrate the 1995 Commonwealth Games. The lower figures evoke the spirit of Pallatsis, a Lekwungen name for Songhees Point meaning “place of the cradle,” where parents left the cradles of young children when they were able to walk on their own, to ensure them a long life.

Cheryl Bryce, 5 December 2006.
Photo: G. T. Wm Edwards


Members of the Penticton Indian Band and Okanagan Nation Alliance blockading Penticton Airport in 1999 to protest expansion plans and assert aboriginal and territorial rights. Chief Stewart Phillip (in centre with the “Transfer” poster) is a long time First Nations activist and President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
Photo: Penticton Indian Band

Secwepemc elder Irene Billy protesting in 2001 at the Skwelkwek’welt Protection Centre near Kamloops. Her sign “Ohkudo GO HOME” is a message to the Japanese owner of the Sun Peaks Development Corporation which operates a ski resort in Secwepemc Territory.
Photo: Skwelkwek’welt Protection Centre | Development | Secwepemc

Secwepemc Ts’Peten

“The Secwepemc People, known by non natives as the Shuswap, are a Nation of 17 bands occupying the south central part of the Province of British Columbia, Canada. The ancestors of the Secwepemc people have lived in the interior of BC for at least 10,000 years. At the time of contact with Europeans in the late 18th century, the Secwepemc occupied a vast territory … The Nation was a political alliance that regulated use of the land and resources, and protected the territories of the Shuswap. Although the bands were separate and independent, they were united by a common language – Secwepemctsin – and a similar culture and belief system” Secwepemc Cultural Education Society.
The Land of the Secwepemc: “The Secwepemc [pronounced suh-wep-muh] territory covers a vast area; approximately 180,000 square km. The territory, traditionally, was an extensive and varied environment, although much of the territory today is destroyed by forestry, mining, mass scale tourisms, and other commercial developments.” See an interactive environmental map that shows the locations of the Secwepemc bands: Secwepemc Traditional Territory.

View of Kamloops Lake from the West.
Photo: Bonnie Leonard (SNTC)
Secwepemc Territory. (Click to enlarge)
Maps: Secwepemc Cultural Education Society
Shuswap Nation Tribal Council (SNTC) represents ten bands: Sexqeltqin (Adams Lake); Kamloops; Kenpesq’t (Shuswap); Quaaout (Little Shuswap); Neskonlith; Splats’in (Spallumcheen); St’uxwtews (Bonaparte); Skeetchestn; Whispering Pines, Clinton (Pelltiq’t); Simpcw (North Thompson). Northern Shuswap Tribal Council (NSTC) is the umbrella for: Tsq’escen’ (Canim Lake); Xats’ull, ‘Cm’etem’ (Soda Creek, Deep Creek); Stswecem’c /Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek, Dog Creek); T’exelc (Williams Lake). Non affiliated bands are: Ts’kw’aylaxw (Pavillion); Esketemc (Alkali Lake); and Llenlleney’ten (High Bar).

Environmental destruction.
Illustration by George Ignace, 2003 Beautiful BC is a sarcastic rap tune written in 2007 by Skeetchestn George Ignace, who is also an artist (left). His mother describes this image as showing “the Secwepemc youth’s perspective on the environmental destruction and urbanization affecting Secwepemcúlecw … The green space on the top right shows how our lands are affected by pollution and ‘biohazards,’ the blue space on the bottom left show the growing impact of cities, crime and urban violence … ” Marianne Ignace, Overview (1 February 2007). Dr. Ignace is a German born anthropologist and linguist educated at Goettingen University. She is married to fellow linquist and Skeetchestn Chief Ron Ignace. The Skeetchestn Indian Band has a natural resources dept. that prepared an innovative plan in 2005: “Vision of Ecosystem Stewardship in the Deadman Watershed.” See: Through the Eyes of Sk’lep.

Secwepemc Territory was first crossed by the railroad in the late 1880s, a development that brought masses of settlers from the east. This devastating incursion by rail has continued ever since (right). Highway and road expansion culminated with completion of the Trans Canada Highway through Revelstoke in 1962. Gigantic industrial hydro dams and power generators like the 1984 Revelstoke dam (below) have wrecked havoc on Secwepemc fishing, hunting and berrying grounds and desecrated ancient burial sites.

Revelstoke dam, Columbia River. (Click for QuickTime)
Photo: Don Bain’s Virtual Guidebook
Canadian Pacific Railway, Kamloops, 1937.
Photo: BC Archives
See virtual panoramas of Secwepemc Territory: Kamloops; Shuswap Lake; and Revelstoke (right). Despite the magnitude of the European invasion, the Secwepemc people have not assimilated nor have they lost their determination to defend and fight for their Aboriginal Title and Rights.

Weyerhaeuser pulp mill, Kamloops, 2006.
Photo: David Eagles Since colonization, most of the old growth forests of Secwepemc Territory have been destroyed by the transnational logging industry. BC’s largest pulp and paper mill, owned by the voracious American logging company Weyerhaeuser, is located in Kamloops (right). This mill’s effluence has poisoned the Thompson River and contaminated its fish with dioxin and other toxic waste products including sulfuric acid, chloroform and hydrogen sulfide. Despite its abysmal environmental record and huge corporate profits, Weyerhaeuser sought tax relief in 2006. For the impact of logging on First Nations, see a report by Indigenous Network on Economies & Trade: INET.

Railway and highway construction in Secwepemc Territory have desecrated ancient First Nations burial grounds. In 2004, human remains were dug up on two occasions at Prichard. Skeetchestn members occupied the site, where an ancient pithouse was also found, and vowed to remain to ensure no further disturbance. They gathered beside a campfire and unfurled a flag stating “unceded Secwepemc land.” During the reburial ceremony, James Sauls sprinkled tobacco on the site as a sign of respect. Sauls, a 75 year old Neskonlith member, reminded his people: “There were pit houses all through here. Our ancestors lived by the river.” Today, still without the government protection that is owed to places of aboriginal heritage, construction projects continue at Pritchard and other sites along the Canadian Pacific Railway and Trans Canada Highway (right).
Construction at Pritchard, 2007.
Photo: Canadian Pacific Railway

Another threat to Secwepemc Territory is the destructive impact of mass industrial tourism. BC’s pro development government is behind a rampant expansion of recreation resorts and a construction boom is taking place across BC in conjunction with the 2010 Winter Olympics. A ski and golf resort development worth $1 billion is underway on 500,000 acres of Mount MacKenzie near Revelstoke, in the eastern part of Secwepemc Territory. Further east on the Trans Canada Highway is the mega sized Kicking Horse Resort owned by the Dutch conglomerate Ballast Nedam (right). Ski resorts promote helicopter and snowcat skiing, destructive activities largely banned from Europe’s Alps. These and all season resorts are an unsustainable energy wasting form of urban sprawl that ruin valuable alpine wilderness habitat.
Resorts in BC profit greatly from the government’s murky selling or leasing of Crown land, which is often contested Indian land. This colonial style practice of land speculation – of making a fast buck on land that is either grabbed from the Crown or under First Nations land claims – is at best quasi legal. In protest, two indigenous defense camps have been founded. See subchapters: Sutikalh and Skwelkwek’welt.
The ski resort industry in BC serves an international market that is in part responsible for its unethical expansion. Lucrative development projects financed by transnational corporations such as Nippon, the Japanese owner of Sun Peaks Resort, are degrading and destroying the hunting and gathering grounds that have been stewarded for thousands of years by the indigenous Secwepemc people (right).
Kicking Horse Resort and ski runs.
Map: Kicking Horse Resort

Sun Peaks Resort and ski runs.
Map: Sun Peaks Resort

Sun Peaks Resort construction, 2004.
Photo: Arthur Manuel
In 2000, to protest against the expansion of Sun Peaks Resort, Secwepemc grass roots activists established the Skwelkwek’welt Protection Centre. Secwepemc leaders who have attended meetings here include Neskonlith Chief Arthur Anthony and North Thompson Chief Nathan Matthew (right). Many Sepwepemc have been arrested. No resolution to this volatile Aboriginal Title and Rights conflict is in sight. Selling off contested Indian land as third party resort real estate is a government sanctioned denial of Aboriginal Title and Rights. Secwepemc activist Arthur Manuel says that Sun Peaks is an example of how contested Indian land is routinely stolen by unethical and underhanded strategies of government – big business. Read an excerpt of his condemnation of Canada’s failure to provide justice for beleaguered communities such as his: Sun Peaks – Indian Land For Sale.

Skwelkwek’welt, 16 September 2004.
Photo: Arthur Manuel

Remax protest, Sun Peaks, 8 April 2006.
Photo: Janice Billy On 8 April 2006 the Secwepemc Native Youth Movement organized a protest demonstration at the Remax Real Estate office at Sun Peaks (left). The banner features an indigenous woman in handcuffs that are shaped in the five circles of the Olympic Games: “Protect Swelkwek’welt” and ” Respect Aboriginal Title & Rights.”
Resort development perpetuates colonial robbery: “We are poor not because our land is poor but because we have been dispossessed of our land and because Canada and the provinces have assumed 100% power over making laws over our land … All revenue generated in Canada is earned from using our natural wealth and resources. We have never benefitted from this. All we have been given is the crumbs from the table of the federal and provincial governments” Sun Peaks – Indian Land For Sale.

BC’s crudely conceived Ministry of Tourism, Sports and the Arts announced in 2005 a new “All Seasons Resorts Division of Land and Water” based in Kamloops, home of Sun Peaks. This amounted to a provocative “business as usual” indication that the BC government will continue to privatize disputed Crown land in flagrant disregard of its own loudly proclaimed “New Relationship” with First Nations.
Traditionally the Secwepemc lived for part of the year in circular pit houses or “kekulis” as they were called (right). “The Shuswap people were nomadic. They travelled to where food was plenty and gathered for winter use. But when … the government put us on the Indian reserves, they had to change their whole lifestyle. You had to adopt the new way of life by clearing land and plowing and planting the different types of food that was not a part of our culture. They were forced to do that” Mary Thomas, from an interview in 2000 (Aboriginal Multi Media Society).
Pit house, Secwepemc Heritage Park.
Photo: Bonnie Leonard (SNTC)

Secwepemc archaeological sites date back some 5,000 years. They include pictographs at Mahood Lake in the traditional territory of the Canim Lake Band. “There are many land markers throughout the Secwepemc Nation. The markers were created by Coyote and the Creator to remind the Secwepemc of their responsibilities. The markers are reminders of how the Secwpemec must behave; while others mark out the territory of the Secwepemc,” Secwepemc Ron Ignace, Balancing Rock (right). See also: Connecting Traditions (Secwepemc Nation); The Shuswap (1909) by James Teit and “Shuswap” by Marianne B. Ignace in the Handbook of North American Indians.

Pit house frame, Secwepemc Heritage Park.
Photo: Bonnie Leonard (SNTC)
“Balancing Rock,” Savona, Skeetchestn.
Photo: Bonnie Leonard (SNTC)
The Secwepemc Heritage Park in Kamloops has reconstructed a number of “kekulis” (left), semi subterranean structures built of logs and covered with earth. The entry and exit of the pit house was through the smoke hole in the ceiling and it held fifteen to thirty persons, usually a single extended family. “Before the establishment of the reserve in 1877, our ancestors wintered in many pit house villages along both sides of Kamloops Lake, and for a distance below the outlet of the lake. During the spring, summer, and fall they would travel throughout their territory to gather important resources at critical times and places” Creation of the Skeetchestn Reserve.

“Fort Kamloops.” Painting by John Tod, c. 1846.
Photo: BC Archives At the confluence of the two rivers known today as North and South Thompson is the ancient site of “Tk’emlups,” a Secwepemc word meaning “meeting of the waters.” It was pronounced as “Kamloops” by the Scottish fur traders who invaded in 1812 and founded Fort Kamloops. In 1826, this symbol of colonial authority was burned to the ground by indigenous warriors. The attacks continued and in 1841, the chief factor of the fort was killed by Kikoskin, a Secwepemc warrior, in retaliation for the killing of Chief Tranquille.
The Scottish fur trader John Tod took charge of Fort Kamloops in 1841. A painting by him shows Secwepemc people working in a field outside the fortified trading post (left). Often there were no food supplies for the winter and it was only because of the potato crops grown by the natives that Tod’s men did not starve to death. See: Thompson’s River Post (Royal BC Museum).

Chief St. Paul with his wife and two daughters, 1865.
Photo: Archives Canada (C. Gentile)
Chief Lolo had a large family including some seven sons and four daughters. One of his daughters, Sophia Lolo, became the commonlaw wife of John Tod and had seven children with him. In 1848, Tod left Fort Kamloops and moved to Fort Victoria where he established a family home on 100 acres of land at Oak Bay, becoming the first settler on Vancouver Island. In 1851 Tod was nominated to the first Legislative Council of the new British colony. In 1863, when he received word that his wife in Britain had passed away, Tod married Sophia Lolo. The studio portrait of Sophia taken almost 30 years later shows what a remarkable woman she must have been to cope with Victoria’s racist colonial society (right).
Prior to the 1862 outbreak of smallpox, the Secwepemc population was about 7,000 to 9,000. The epidemic was catastrophic and wiped out many communities, leaving those few that survived greatly reduced in size. Jean Baptist St. Paul (1798 – 1868), known also as Chief Lolo, was said to be the “most celebrated Indian Chief in British North America.” A photo of Chief Lolo with his wife and two daughters was taken at Fort Kamloops in 1865 (left). Chief Lolo was a respected trader and Indian spokesperson. British naval officer Richard Charles Mayne was grateful to be guided by him in 1859, from Fort Kamloops to Pavillion, and he describes Chief Lolo at length and with much praise in his 1862 travel narrative: Four Years in British Columbia.

“Mrs. John Tod, nee Sophia Lolo,” 1890.
Photo: BC Archives (S. Spencer)

Unidentified photo, c. 1867.
Photo: Vancouver City Archives
In an unidentified photo (above) we can see Alkali Lake Chief Quil – Quailse, on the far left and Williams Lake Chief William on the far right. The chiefs in the Dally photo on the right, likely also taken in 1867 at the same occasion are not identified. The chief in the centre, who may be Soda Creek Chief Kam – eo – saltze, is holding a Semour malacca staff with a cast silver head, the type ordered from British India by the colonial authories to present to “friendly” aboriginal chiefs in BC as a sign of respect for their sovereignty.
The Soda Creek Indian Band is also known by its Sewwepemc name: Xatsu’ll (pronounced hat – shul), which means “on the cliff where the bubbling water comes out.” Xatsu’ll chiefs mounted a determined fight against the land claims posted by a settler in 1869. The rising tension was noted by the district missionary: “I already see that the Indians of Soda Creek would sooner risk their lives than abandon their native soil” (Rev. McGucking, 12 May 1868). The photographer Frederick Dally accompanied the gold miners who flooded into the Interior of BC to Barkerville. On his way, he stopped at the new capital of BC, named New Westminster by Queen Victoria in 1859, where he took a formal photo of a group of Swecwemc and St’át’imc chiefs on 24 May 1867 to mark the colonial celebration of the Queen’s birthday. An unidentified photo (left) was likely taken by Dally at the same occasion.

Interior Salish chiefs, 1867.
Photo: BC Archives (F. Dally)

“Goldmining Asturias Claim,” Cariboo, 1867.
Photo: Archives Canada (F. Dally) “The area around Soda Creek was squatted upon by many of the Europeans who came looking for gold. Land belonging to Xatsu’ll was claimed by settlers with the approval of white governments and their various bureaucracies who pretended to be looking after the interests of Xatsu’ll. Leaders of Xatsu’ll tried in vain to get the government to settle land claims in an honorable way. The people of Xatsu’ll, weakened by disease and other European vices, watched helplessly as the European society took control of their land, their resources and their lives” Xatsu’ll First Nation.
A photo by Dally of the “Asturias” goldmine (left) in the Cariboo shows the ecological devastation caused by this sort of activity. Two small figures are seen amidst a landscape of dead trees and a creekbed ruined by hydrolic blasting and poisoned by the arsenic based extraction process.

Archaeological evidence of ancient human habitation in the Soda Creek region of the Cariboo has been carbon dated at approximately 4,300 years old. Yet in 1865 the colonial governor set up the Soda Creek Indian Reserve (below). “The original reserve was 22 miles long and 8 miles wide. Settlers wanted the land and over a number of years the people of Xatsu’ll ended up with one mile square on a rocky hillside, for all their needs. Deals made on behalf of the Xatsu’ll usually ended up far more beneficial for those wanting what little Xatsu’ll had left. These deals were usually made without the knowledge or understanding of the people of Xatsu’ll” Xatsu’ll First Nation. In 1901 a government surveyor photographed an unnamed Indian chief at the “Soda Creek Rancheri” (right).
“The history of the intrusion of white authorities upon the lives of Xatsu’ll is not one to be proud of, yet still continues today. This intrusion affected every area of the native people’s lives from birth to death. Traditional native names were changed for the convenience of the non natives. If a native person left a will the government can override it if they did not agree with it. There isn’t a single aspect of the lives of the Xatsu’ll which remains untouched by governments who assume authority and all too often abuse it” Xatsu’ll First Nation.

“Soda Creek Indian Reserve,” 25 July 1914.
Photo: BC Archives
“Indian Chief at Soda Creek Rancherie,” 1901.
Photo: BC Archives (F. Swannell)
“Prime examples of this abuse of authority are the trespasses on Xatsu’ll by BC Rail, BC Hydro, BC Telephone, Westcoast Transmission (BC Gas), and the BC Ministry of Transportation and Highways among many others.”
“Xatsu’ll got very little, and in some cases no compensation, for the transportation and utility corridors negotiated on their behalf by the Federal government. For the still existing trespasses and the extraction of the many renewable and non – renewable resources, Xatsu’ll has received nothing. This is the same for all other First Nations communities” Xatsu’ll First Nation.

“Kamloops Indians performing,” 1901.
Photo: BC Archives
Religious tableaux of the crucifiction and other scenes were produced by the Catholic Mission in Kamloops and staged at the Kamloops Indian Reserve in 1901. Secwepemc actors who performed in the living tableaux were the subject of many church taken devotional photos (above and right).
“Indians at Kamloops performing,” 1901.
Photo: BC Archives

The living tableaux of Biblical scenes were designed as conversion aides. As theatrical productions, they were viewed by Secwepemc people who travelled from neighbouring reserves, some of whom were photographed by the Catholic Mission as evidence of their popularity (left). In a statement of Euro Christian triumphalism, the Catholic authorities boasted in 1912: “Heathenism and old custom are now extinct, the entire tribe being civilized and officially reported Catholic … In addition to the flourishing Oblate mission at Williams Lake, another under the same auspices at Kamloops is equally successful … As a rule they are moral” Catholic Encyclopedia.
In contrast were the words of the chiefs: “What have we received for our good faith, friendliness and patience? Gradually as the whites of this country became more and more powerful and we less and less powerful, they little by little changed their policy towards us and commenced to put restrictions on us. Their governments have taken every advantage of our friendliness, weakness and ignorance to impose on us in every way. They treat us as subjects without any agreement to that effect and force their laws on us without our consent, and irrespective of whether they are good for us or not” Memorial to Sir Wilfred Laurier.

“Visitors to an Indian passion play,” c. 1901.
Photo: BC Archives

On 25 August 1910 First Nations chiefs signed a proclamation to the prime minister of Canada, Sir Wilfred Laurier, demanding that their land rights be settled. They included, from left: Kamloops Chief Louis; Bonaparte Chief Basil David; and Douglas Lake Chief John Chelahitsa (right). This important historical document spells out the principles that remain at the core of First Nations land issues today. See: Memorial to Sir Wilfred Laurier.
Born in 1828, Louis XlExlexkEn (below) was chief of the Kamloops Indian Band from 1855 until his death in 1915. He was a widely recognized and respected leader who testified at the McKenna McBride Commission. Ethnologist Marius Barbeau noted that the cheif’s name had several variations and spellings: Louis Gleghleghken (xlexxle’yken); XlExlexkEn, Louis (also Gleghleghken, XlExxlExkEn and Xilextexken).
“All that I know is, that
a long time ago we
made arrangements to
build a school on this
reserve, and it was
supposed to be a
Catholic School, and
we built one.
It is there now.”
“I expected to see my
people improve when
they first went to the
Industrial School, but
I have not seen
anything of it.”
“When they come out
from school they don’t
seem to have
improved much.”
Kamloops Indian Band
Chief Louis,
McKenna Report, 1914.
XlExlexkEn (1828 – 1855)
Kamloops Chief Louis
Photo: M. Barbeau, 1912

Memorial to Sir WIlfred Laurier, 25 August 1910.
Photo: Kamloops Museum and Archives
One of the questions that Chief Louis (left) was asked by government officials during his testimony at the McKenna McBride Commission in 1914 was whether he could write, to which he gave the eloquent reply: ” I write in my heart only.”
Another of the Secwepemc chiefs who signed the 1911 Memorial was Bonaparte Chief Basil David (below left). In 1906 Chief David made the long and arduous journey to London to assert the indigenous land rights of his Secwepemc people to Britain’s King Edward together with Chief Joe Capilano (Squamish First Nation) and Chief Chillihitza (Okanagan First Nation). Again in 1916 Chief David joined a delegation of First Nations chiefs to Ottawa to protest against the punitive policies of the Department of Indian Affairs.

“As I told you, my
children’s land is short,
and I will depend upon
you Commissioners to
help me all you can
in that way … ”
“You know
our grievances include
everything – land, deer,
and game of all kinds.”
“They are all included
in this question.”
Bonaparte Indian Band
Chief Basil David,
McKenna Report, 1914 “I might say quite
a lot, but when it comes
to the fine point, I am
short of land and it is
hard to get water.”
“We are not the only
ones here that have
the same grievance, but
mostly all the Indians all
over this part have the
same grievance.”
Chief Basil David
Photo: J. Teit, 1916

Chief Basil David
Photo: J. Teit, 1916

“A Bonaparte Indian,” 1864.
The 1864 photo “A Bonaparte Indian” (above) was taken in the early BC gold rush by C. Gentile. The man is not identified, but he is likely a chief. It was originally in a collection owned by the despised Irish settler Peter O’Reilly, the first colonial enforcer of the punitive Indian Act reserve system as well as the first commissioner of gold.

Bonaparte Indian Reserve, 1968.
Photo: David Plowden For over a century the Bonaparte people saw their lands invaded and plundered by a raft of miners, ranchers, loggers and settlers. None of the huge profits were shared with the communities of the Bonaparte Indian Band which became increasingly impoverished as the people were progressively disinherited of their land and natural resources. The reserve system imposed on First Nations did not improve their living conditions. Homes on the Bonaparte Indian Reserve (left) had no heating, electricity, running water, plumbing or insulation until the late 1950s. When the 86 year old elder Jimmy Morgan lost his house to a fire in 1973, it triggered the Cache Creek blockade during which armed indigenous activists stopped commercial traffic on Highway 97 through the Bonaparte Indian Reserve for six weeks and demanded a $5 toll from all vehicle drivers as a compensation for the appalling housing conditions on the Reserve.
The 1973 Cache Creek blockade is said to have solidified the American Indian Movement (AIM) in Canada: “The History, Achievements and Legacy of AIM,” Jeremy Schneider, Indian Nation (1976).

Bonaparte Chief Mike Retasket (right) is a long time elected First Nations leader and a grass roots environmental activist who is a founding member of First Nations Forestry Council. Among the most contested environmental issues in his community is the development of Hat Creek for coalbed methane gas which he opposed. Another is the shameful yearly dumping of 500,000 million tons of Vancouver’s garbage in Cache Creek. To stop contaminated poultry stock from being dumped in 2004, Chief Retasket took part in a blockade. In 2003 the Bonaparte Indian Band rejected the proposal for a new landfill site at the Ashcroft Ranch near Cache Creek but the issue remains unresolved a year before the site is due to open in 2008. See: Aboriginal Comments.

Bonaparte Chief Mike Retasket, 2000.
Photo: Philipp Kuechler
Bonaparte Chief Mike Retasket, 2000.
Photo: Philipp Kuechler
In 2000 Bonaparte Chief Mike Restasket took part in an indigenous community eco-forestry project. He gave visiting German biologist Philipp Kuechler a tour of the project (left). See the German “Naturschatz” presentation on the history of clearcutting in BC: Evolution der Kahlschlaege.

Adams River Lumber Company, Chase, c. 1920.
Photo: British Columbia Archives
Secwepemc Territory was plundered of its old growth forests beginning in 1866 when the first miners arrived and burned whole watersheds. Huge amounts of prime timber were used for railway development in the 1880s, e.g. for massive trestles over steep mountain canyons and gullies. By 1906, thirteen sawmills were in operation just to supply the booming new railroad centre of Revelstoke. Before it shut down in 1925, Adams River Lumber Co. felled countless ancient cedars (right) and destroyed whole forests up to 100 meters from the banks of Adams River and shores of Adams Lake. See photos: Loaded Train, Three Level Flume, Brennan Flume, Sawmill, and Lumber Yard. In 1940, a new sawmill was set up at Adams Lake. In 1971 it was bought by Interfor, the largest lumber products company in the Pacific Northwest. Today the ancient Inland Rainforest continues to be destroyed by logging and is in danger of extermination. Read a scientific paper on the rich and irreplaceable biodiversity that is at risk: Journal of Biogeography.
Adams Lake, Little Shuswap and Neskonlith reserves are located near Chase, a town named after an American gold miner who settled in the area in 1867 and married an aboriginal woman with whom he had nine children. In 1907, an American logging company bought land in Chase and started the Adams River Lumber Co. on the river in the centre of the small native community which had previously been known as “Shuswap,” the English word for Secwepemc (left).

“Felling Cedar.” Adams River Lumber Co., 1920.
Photo: BC Archives

“It is not on our reserve
only that our hard
feelings commence;
it is for land outside the
reserves where the
whitemen have
stopped us.”
“They stopped us from
getting deer and birds,
and stopped us fishing.”
“You all know your
selves that we were
born here and always
lived here,
on this land here.”
“You see your
own selves as to how
we love our land.”
Little Shuswap Lake
Indian Band
Chief Francois Selpaghen,
McKenna Report, 1914.
Chief Francois Selpaghen
Photo: E. Sapir, 1912
A photograph of Secwepemc Chief Francoise Selpaghen (Little Shuswap Indian Band) was taken by ethnologist Edward Sapir in 1912 (left). This was just after Chief Selpaghen had signed the Memorial to Frank Oliver: “Our tribal territories which we have held from time immemorial, often at cost of blood, are ours no longer … We are all beggars, and landless in our own country … What promises made to us when the first whites came to this country have been broken. Many of us were driven off our places where we had lived and camped because these spots were desirable for agriculture, and the Government wanted them for white settlers. This was done without agreement with us, and we received no compensation” Memorial to Frank Oliver.
Chief Selpaghen called for the government of Canada “to do what is right” and “to stand up for us” when he testified in 1914 to the McKenna McBride Commission: “We all want to work our land to good advantage, and we are short as to our means and knowledge of working the land.”

According to the early fur traders, Adams Lake was named after Chief Sel – howt – ken, who had been baptised “Adam” in 1849 by a Jesuit missionary. Praised as a fine man and an assiduous hunter, the Chief was last mentioned in a journal in April 1862 – which means that he likely died in the catastrophic smallpox epidemic of the same year.
An aerial photo of the Interfor sawmill at Adams Lake (right) shows the distinct rusty colour of red cedar in the lumber yard and log booms. Little of the huge profits from logging the old growth forests were shared with the Secwepemc people. Nor have Secwepemc burial grounds been respected. In 1995 a blockade was set up to protest the desecration of graves uncovered by the development of a 60 unit RV park on the Adams Lake Indian Reserve.
Aerial view of Adams Lake Sawmill.
Photo: Thompson Nicola Film Commission

Adams River salmon run, 2004.
Photo: Andy Zuest
Secwepemc George Manuel was a leader of the international indigenous rights movement (right). Among his many positions, he was chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band, president of both the National Indian Brotherhood, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and founder of the international World Council of Indigenous Peoples. During his some three decades of political and indigenous activism, Manuel received many honours including nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1981 he was appointed Grand Chief of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of BC in 1983, and in 1986 he received the Order of Canada. See: George Manual Biography (Land of the Secwepemc); George Manuel (Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs); and the George Manuel Memorial Library.
Adams River is North America’s greatest sockeye salmon run (left): Adams River Salmon Society. Despite the priceless value of this ecological treasure of biodiversity, the Adams River watershed has been severely degraded by the logging industry. The mismanagement of Secwepemc forest and water resources resulted not only in the destruction of important Aboriginal fisheries but also of water resources needed for irrigation and agriculture on Secwepemc reserves.
Inadequate reserve sizes and the increasing number of settlers were issues raised in 1914 by Neskonlith Chief William Pierrish and Kamloops Chief Louis at the McKenna Commission. The pressing problem of water shortages for raising crops and water conflicts with neighboring settlers caused Chief Louis to declare: “The white man has no right to take any of it.” On the history of Secwepemc water rights struggles, see the essay by Kenichi Matsui: White Man Has No Right.

Secwepemc George Manuel.
Photo: George Manuel Institute

Kamloops Residential School, c. 1920.
Photo: BC Archives
In his 1974 book “Fourth World: An Indian Reality,” George Manuel coined the expression “Fourth World” to describe the situation of indigenous peoples “who today are completely or partly deprived of the right to their own territories and its riches.” The impoverished living conditions on the Kamloops Indian Reserve are clear in the photo on the right, taken in 1940. For the Secwepemc people, the development of their territory by settler society resulted in environmental destruction with no sharing of the wealth. George Manuel attended the notorious Kamloops Residential School until he contracted tuberculosis at age 12 (left). Of his childhood, he said: “The thing that I remember of my life, our lives I should say, is the poverty. See the Assembly of First Nations: History of Indian Residential Schools.

“Village street on the reserve,” Kamloops, 1940.
Photo: BC Archives

“Shuswap Indians drying salmon,” c. 1883.
Photo: Archives Canada
Salmon is the most vital food source for the Secwepemc people. A c. 1883 photo of a fish camp shows how the salmon harvest was dried for winter supplies and trading on Shuswap Lake (above). An engraving from 1881 illustrates how the salmon were cached high in the branches of large trees (right). The Secwepemc were accomplished fishers who used sophisticated harpoons, weirs and traps and their traditional fisheries were sustainable, providing sustenance for generation after generation.
As a result of colonization and industrial development, traditional salmon fisheries were severely impacted. One especially tragic example occurred in 1941 when the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in Washington was completed, causing the ruination of over 1,000 miles of spawning grounds in the Upper Columbia Basin.
“Indian Salmon Cache.” Engraving.
Source: Canadian Pictures, 1881

“Indian encampment on the Thompson River,” c. 1870.
Photo: Archives Canada (B. Baltzly) An early photograph of the nomadic Secwepemc people shows a group camped on the Thompson River (left). It was taken in 1870 by one of the first colonial surveyers to invade Secwepemc Territory. At the same time that the settlement of Secwepemc Territory was causing widespread ecological devastation and diminishing the salmon stocks, Canada’s Department of Fisheries was increasingly restricting the aboriginal right to fish. To protect their Thompson River coho fishery, the Nesonlith and Adams Lake Indian Bands took legal action in 1997, 1999 and 2003 against the government. They argued that sport fishing by non aboriginals was allowed yet there were not enough coho salmon to support the food, social and ceremonial requirements of the aboriginal peoples, and further, to meet conservation needs.

“I will not say much to
you – only a few words.
This place where I am
now, is my own place.”
“I am glad now to have
the chance to speak on
my land truly, because
it is my own land.”
“I cannot let my land go.
I want to say also one
word about the laws
of this Country. I want to
get the rights of the law
to administrate my own
reserve. I have told you
before I would not say
much and that is all
I have to say.”
Salmon Arm Indian Band
Chief Clement Arnous,
McKenna Report, 1914.
Chief Clement Arnous
Photo: J. Teit, 1916
On 10 May 1911, a Memorial was prepared to the Minister of the Interior and Superintendent of Indian Affairs. It was signed by 68 First Nations chiefs, acting chiefs and designated indigenous representatives including 18 Secwepemc leaders: “You know how the BC government has laid claim to all our tribal territories, and has practically taken possession of same without treaty and without payment. You know how they also claim the reservations, nominally set apart for us” Memorial to Frank Oliver.
” … they let us use a few inferior spots of our own country to live on, and say we ought to be grateful to them … We ask is this the brotherly help that was promised us in early days, or is it their compensation to us for the spoliation of our country, stealing of our lands, water, timber, pastures, our game, fish, roots, fruits, etc., and the introduction of diseases, poverty, hard labor, jails, unsuitable laws, whisky, and ever so many other things injurious to us?” Memorial to Frank Oliver.

Neskonlith ethnobotanist and elder Mary Thomas was born and raised in Salmon Arm (right) and she is much respected for her traditional botanical knowledge. See: Mary Thomas (National Aboriginal Achievement Awards). She remembers harvesting as a child: “When everything started getting ripe, the people would move and make camps like little shelters. They would get up early in the morning and pick berries and dig roots … My mother used to tell me that there were so many soapberries; enough for everyone. Now we don’t see very much of them anymore” Land of the Secwepemc.
The Secwepemc Ethnobotanical Gardens were created in 1999 “to promote an understanding of Secwepemc language, culture and use of native plants.” Brown – eyed Susan (Gaillardia aristata) is a native plant (below) called “sqlelten re ckwtut’stens” in Secwepemc, meaning “little salmon eyes,” and it was used as a dandruff shampoo.

“Little Salmon Eyes” (Gaillardia aristata).
“sqlelten re ckwtut’stens”
Neskonlith elder Mary Thomas.
Photo: Ducks Unlimited
“Along with fishing and hunting, Secwepemc people relied heavily on plants for food, for medicines, and for tools and implements. Plant knowledge continues to be an essential part of Secwepemc cultural knowledge and is communicated through traditional stories, place names, beliefs and values. Secwepemc Territory is ecologically diverse and contains a great range and variety of plants at different locations, elevations and seasons throughout the year” Secwepemc Ethnobotanical Gardens.




St’át’imc blockading BC Rail tracks at Seton Portage in 1990 in solidarity with the Mohawks at Oka. The blockade lasted for 100 days until RCMP troopers in riot gear swarmed the protesters – including elders, women and children – using batons and attack dogs. About 100 arrests were made. Photo: David Wesley | Development | St’át’imc

St’át’imc Ucwalmicw

“We claim that we are the rightful owners of our tribal territory, and everything pertaining thereto. We have always lived in our Country; at no time have we ever deserted it, or left it to others. We have retained it from the invasion of other tribes at the cost of our blood. Our ancestors were in possession of our Country centuries before the whites came. It is the same as yesterday when the latter came, and like the day before when the first fur trader came.”
“We are aware the BC government claims our Country, like all other Indian territories in BC; but we deny their right to it. We never gave it nor sold it to them. They certainly never got the title to the Country from us, neither by agreement nor conquest, and none other than us could have any right to give them title. In early days we considered white chiefs like a superior race that never lied nor stole, and always acted wisely and honourably … ” Click to continue the 1911 Declaration of the Lillooet Tribe (St’át’imc Chiefs Council).
St’át’imc Territory. (Click to enlarge)
Map: St’át’imc Land and Resource Authority

Indian Rights Association Delegation, Ottawa, May 1916.
Photo: Canadian Museum of Civilization In 1916, BC members of the newly formed Indian Rights Association travelled to Ottawa to express their grievances over land rights to the Canadian government (left). Included in the Delegation were three St’át’imc (pronounced “stat lee um”) leaders: Xaxl’ip Chief Thomas Adolf (who also signed the 1911 Declaration of the Lillooet Tribe); T’it’q’et Chief James Raitasket; Lil’wat Chief William Pascal (who travelled to Ottawa again in 1927).
Standing (from left): Kamloops Chief Elie Larue (Secwepemc); Thompson Chief John Tetlenitsa (Nlaka’pamux); James Teit (Spences Bridge resident, ethnologist and white supporter of Aboriginal Rights); Xaxl’ip Chief Thomas Adolph (St’át’imc); and Lil’wat Chief William Pascal (St’át’imc). Seated (from left): T’it’q’et Chief James Raitasket (St’át’imc); Douglas Lake Chief John Chelahitsa (Nlaka’pamux); Tobacco Plains Chief Paul David (Kootenay); and Bonaparte Chief Basil David (Secwepemc).

St’át’imc Nation flag.
Graphic: St’át’imc Chiefs Council
“Our vision is of a continuing and renewed relationship between St’át’imc people (ucwalmicw) and the land (tmicw) which: respects St’át’imc cultural traditions – using the ways (nt’ákmen), laws (nxékmen) and standards of our people as passed down through the generations; respects nature – putting the health of the water, the air, the plants, the animals and the land itself before all else; is under St’át’imc authority – letting our people decide collectively how the land and resources of the St’át’imc territory will be managed; and serves the St’át’imc communities – recognizing that resources continue to provide sustenance in old and new ways to all our people” St’át’imc Chiefs Council.

St’át’imc Territory. (Click to enlarge)
Map: St’át’imc Land and Resource Authority

Historic St’át’imc house pits, Keeley Creek, near Lillooet.
Photo: Brian Hartley
Sources: USLCES (Upper St’át’imc Language, Culture and Education Society); St’át’imc Historical Timeline (Trefor Smith, Our Stories are Written on the Land: a Brief History of the St’át’imc 1800 – 1940); T’ít’q’et Community (P’egp’íg’7lha Traditional Government); Lillooet Language (Yinka Déné Language Institute); James Teit, The Lillooet Indians (1906); Glimpses into Upper St’át’imc History (USLCES); Joanne Drake Terry, The Same As Yesterday: The Lillooet Chronicle and the Theft of Their Lands and Resources (1989); Brian Hayden, ed. A Complex Culture of the BC Plateau: Traditional Stl’átl’imx Resource Use (1992); Keatley Creek Site (Simon Fraser University); St’át’imc Territory (District of Lillooet).
Not many St’át’imc grave figures carved from red cedar survived the pillaging of Indian burial grounds carried out by miners and settlers and few can be seen today in museums. St’át’imc graves such as those in a c. 1870 photo (right) were described by the Jesuit missionaries: “Among the Lower Lillooet the body was sometimes placed sitting upon the ground covered with a heap of stones, or deposited in a grave box, in front of which were set up wooden figures representing the deceased, and dressed in his clothes” Lillooet Indians (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910).
The St’át’imc Chiefs Council consists of political representatives from the eleven St’át’imc Nation communities: Ts’kw’aylaxw (Pavillion); Xwisten (Bridge River); Xaxl’ip (Fountain); Tsal’álh (Seton Lake); T’it’q’et (Lillooet); Sek’wel’wa’sa (Cayoosh Creek); N’quatqua (Anderson Lake); Lil’wat (Mount Currie); Smáqwam (Sama’qwam); Sqátin (Skookumchuck); Xáxtsa7 (Port Douglas).
The St’át’imc Chiefs Council does not recognise the authorities of the provincial or federal governments to unilaterally designate land in St’at’imc Territory and is not taking part in the British Columbia treaty process.

“Grave of an Interior Indian Chief,” c. 1870.
Photo: Archives Canada (F. Dally)

The St’át’imc Land and Resource Authority has mapped the northern part of St’át’imc Territory. For example, see the map: General Habitat Protection Areas. The St’át’imc Land Use Plan Nxekmenlhkalha lti tmicwa upholds the ecological principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity. In stark contrast, the BC government supports an extinction program for much of the region’s remaining wild lands and wildlife by giving free reign to resource and development companies in its pro exploitation and unsustainable Land and Resource Management Plan. One example is the excessively high timber cut rate that has been approved for another six decades. Another is the government’s blatant promotion of destructive industrial tourism (ie. Lillooet Resort Opportunity Study) which disregards international edicts such as the UN’s “Rights of Indigenous Peoples” or “The Berlin Declaration” on sustainable tourism and biological diversity.
“General Habitat Protection Areas.”
St’át’imc Land and Resource Authority

“Lillooet Indians,” 1865. Commemorates the colonial governor’s visit to St’át’imc Territory.
Photo: Archives Canada (C. Gentile)

St’át’imc Chiefs and colonists, Lillooet, 1865.
Photo: Archives Canada
Xaxl’ip Chief Tsil.husalst (d. 1883) met the colonial governor in Lillooet in 1865 (above). One portrait of the Chief (right) exists. Xaxl’ip Chief Ernest Jacob (d. 1985) recounted the “one third” agreement made with Queen Victoria following the victory of the Indians in the Fraser Canyon War of 1859: each party was to evenly share one third of the revenue collected from the natural resources on Indian land. The “one third” agreement was never kept by Britain or Canada.
“Indian Chief of Fountain Band”
Photo: BC Archives

“Lilloett (sic) on the Fraser River,” 1864.
Illustration: W. Hatton (BC Archives)
Lillooet is one of the oldest inhabited locations on the continent and an important centre of St’át’imc culture. In 1860, the Royal Engineers were sent to Lillooet to secure passage for the prospectors and it soon became a boom town (above). Lillooet then went “bust” until 1884, when the nearby Cayoosh Creek became the site of the single richest find in BC gold mining history: Cayoosh Gold Rush. Later industrial mining ventures included the Cayoosh Creek Cyanide Mill (right) and Bralorne Pioneer Gold Mine, once the richest in Canada (it operated from 1887 to 1971 and at present is gearing up to reopen). Cyanide is used to extract gold from ore and contamination from mining wastes continues to poison St’át’imc waters and salmon habitat. Development has been a catastrophe for the St’át’imc. For 150 years they have seen their land and waters degraded, their resources plundered and their way of life annihilated. The European invasion began with the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in 1858. The first colonial governor penetrated the heart of St’át’imc Territory by building the Douglas Road to transport miners from San Francisco to the Fraser Canyon. With the white invaders came numerous diseases to which the St’át’imc had no immunity. Worst was the small pox epidemic of 1862 which decimated the St’át’imc population, killing off entire villages and families.

“Cayoosh Creek Cyanide Mill,” c. 1910.
Photo: BC Archives

When BC joined the Dominion of Canada in 1871, its total population was fewer than 40,000, of which almost 30,000 were indigenous. In the decades that followed, indigenous people were displaced and marginalized by massive waves of settlers. One of Lillooet’s early settlers was Caspar Phair, also the first government agent and gold commissioner. A photo by Phair (right) shows a sawmill at the head of Seton Lake in 1910. None of the many mines and sawmills in St’at’imc Territory have ever been St’át’imc owned, thus the huge profits made from resource extraction were not shared. Nor did the St’át’imc benefit from the engineering tour de force Bridge River Power Project, BC’s largest development project (below) when it began in 1927.

“Bridge River Development.”
Photo: BC Archives (Click to enlarge)
“Seton Lake Sawmill, Lillooet BC,” 1910.
Photo: BC Archives (C. Phair)

“Nxwisten” is the St’át’imc name for Bridge River and also the name of the people who live its confluence with the Fraser River. Their village is situated at what was once an important fishery called Sxetl (Bridge River Fishing Grounds). The Bridge River Power Project consisted of three dams and four generating stations. In 1960 Bridge River was dammed and its water was diverted to Seton Lake (right), causing incalculable environmental damage and hardship on the St’át’imc who depended on the Bridge River salmon for sustenance. Much of Vancouver’s electricity comes from this BC Hydro site, yet the St’át’imc have never been properly compensated for the loss of their land and fishing grounds or for the ecological degradation that continues to this day.
BC Hydro station, Seton Lake.
Photo: Mike Cleven

Freight train on Seton Lake transporting raw resources through St’át’imc Territory to Vancouver.
Photo: BC Rail

Seton Lake from Mission Mt, 27 April 2006.
Photo: Karen Wonders The St’át’imc name for Seton Lake (left), is Tsal’álh (meaning “the lake”). Tsal’álh is also the name of a St’át’imc village on the northern shore of the lake. Historically there were several villages located here, but under the Indian Act they were forcibly amalgamated. Seton Lake had already been despoiled by mining and logging activities when the government blocked its eastern end in 1903, causing more depredation and diminishing the number of salmon available to the Tsal’álh, causing great hardship.
In 1913, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway was built through St’át’imc Territory (above), destroying pit houses, villages, burial sites and hunting grounds. To accomodate the railway and to open the area up for settlement, the government expropriated the best located and most fertile reserve land. Today the St’át’imc communities located on Seton Lake are called Shalalth and Seton Portage.

Gott Peak, Lilloeet Range, height: 2511 m.
Photo: Bivouac
Gott Peak in the Lilloeet Range (above) is named for the remarkable Lillooet (T’it’q’et) man known as Francis (Frank) Gott (c. 1850 – 1932), a celebrated big game hunting guide with a legendary knowledge of St’át’imc Territory (below).

T’it’q’et Francis Gott with grizzly, n.d.
Photo: Archives Canada
T’it’q’et Francis Gott, c. 1915.
Photo: Archives Canada
Frank Gott was in his sixties when WWI began but he enlisted in the Expeditionary Forces in defiance of age regulations and served as a sniper, winning a medallion for his heroism (above).
The BC Game Act was imposed by the colonial officials in 1898 to enforce elite British hunting rules on the indigenous people and prevent them from hunting for food. Game wardens and their strict hunting regulations were justifiably despised by the natives for whom hunting was a vital part of their sustenance and cultures long before colonization. Frank Gott was repeatedly harassed and penalized by the Lillooet game warden.
We don’t know the circumstances as to why Gott shot and killed the warden when he tried to fine the Lillooet war hero for having an undeclared deer carcass at his hunting camp. Knowing that he would be found guilty by the BC court system, the 76 year old Gott disappeared into a rugged valley later named after him (Gott Creek), about 25 km from Lillooet. When he was finally apprehended, Gott resisted arrest and was shot and killed.




How Dare They Do This
Rare surviving remnants of old growth rainforest continue to be under assault by logging companies and face extinction in British Columbia (BC). Vancouver Island especially has suffered from MacMillan Bloedel and its successor, the American tree killing company Weyerhaeuser. One painful instance of ruthless corporate plundering is the destruction of Pachena Grove, clearcut in the late spring of 2006 (right). The 100 hectare old growth spruce forest at the mouth of Pachena River next to Anacla Indian Reserve was renowned internationally as the head of the West Coast Trail. A local indigenous owned company may well be the immediate perpetrator but Island Timberlands (aka Weyerhaeuser, MacMillan Bloedel) are the indirectly guilty, buying First Nations’ collaboration by exploiting their economic plight. Pachena Grove big tree destroyed, 2006
Photo: Phil Carson

Pachena Grove Cutblock, 21 May 2007. (Click to enlarge)
Aerial Photo: Tnano (Text added) BC is running out of the lucrative coastal primaeval forests that have fueled industrial logging for over a century. In addition, indigenous land claims are increasingly being recognized in the Canadian court. As a result, the forest industry is rushing to “harvest” the last big tree stands, and devious deals are done between corporate and government officials and their co-opted native counterparts. The irreplaceable giant spruce grove at the mouth of Pachena River was massacred in 2006 (left), wrecking hundreds of aboriginal heritage trees. This crime was against the Huu ay aht community of Anacla. It also degraded the valuable wild salmon habitat of Pachena River and diminished the biodiversity of Pachena Bay and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Canada is gaining a bad international reputation for refusing to sign the 2006 United Nations Convention on Indigenous Rights. Also, at an international climate change initiative in 2008, Canada was condemned for its dismissal of the legal rights that indigenous peoples have over the forests they live in. Almost all BC forests are part of unceded territories that have been under dispute since the province was colonized by Britain in the mid 19th century. Yet from the beginning, transnational corporations have grabbed and plundered the profitable forest resources of First Nations across BC with impunity, while the native communities suffer from poverty, neglect and institutionalised racism.

Pachena big tree destroyed, April 2006.
Photo: Phil Carson
Pachena big tree destroyed, 2006.
Photo: anon (Click to enlarge)
The 2006 clearcutting of the Pachena Grove resulted not only in the loss of big trees but also indigenous heritage (above and left). This act of nature destruction at the head of the West Coast Trail was engineered by the forest industry and is an ominous sign of what is to come from the elaborately framed treaty deals being signed between the BC government and First Nations. Designed to give certainty to big business, the treaties extinguish Aboriginal Title and privatize Indian Reserves and Crown Land, thereby facilitating industrial resource exploitation.

“Ohiat Indian; Barklay Sound,” 1870.
Photo: BC Archives (F. Dally)
Sproat was typical of the colonizers who believed that the absence of certain characteristic features of European civilization in “First Nations” justified classifying them as savages and therefore as part of nature over which dominion had to be exerted. At the same time, Sproat wrote that the amazing oratory skills of the Ahts were superior to the colonizers’ and he described how he owed his life to “George the Pirate,” a famed Ohiaht paddler and to Chief Kleeshin. An Huu ay aht whaling harpoon and rope collected in 1893 reveals great sophistication and beauty (right). “Ohiat” Indians
The Huu ay aht indigenous people on whose land Pachena Grove is located are described as Ohiat (also spelled Ohyat or Ohiet) Indians in one of the earliest popular narratives of native life on the west coast of Vancouver Island, by Gilbert Malcolm Sproat: Scenes and Studies of Savage Life (1868). Published in London, the book is a colonial account of the dispossession of the indigenous peoples, whom Sproat called “Ahts” (now known as Nuu chah nulth). Sproat describes the Ahts as a “nation” and although he ponders over the “right of any people to intrude upon another, and to dispossess them of their country,” he concludes that “civilized men” have the right to occupy “savage countries.” A photo of an “Ohiat Indian” was taken by Frederick Dally (left) at about the same time as Sproat’s book appeared in Europe.

Ohiaht whaling harpoon, 1893.
Photo: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Left: “A Whale Ashore – Klahoquat,” c. 1855. Painting by George Catlin National Gallery of Art Washington DC.
Nuu chah nulth people were made famous through late 18th century European expedition accounts. Decimated by epidemics brought by the Europeans, the Nuu chah nulth suffered a population decline of 80 percent over less than 125 years, until 1900.

The renowned Indian chronicler, George Catlin, depicted c. 1855 a dramatic scene of a stranded whale on Clayoquot Sound surrounded by hundreds of Nuu chah nulth people, many in canoes. The impending invasion of European settlers is indicated by a schooner at anchor and a steamship in the distance.

“Sea Hunters,” Painting by Gordon Miller, 1983.
Canadian Museum of Civilization
The amazing skill of the Nuu chah nulth peoples as whalers has long fascinated Europeans. An historical painting by Gordon Miller (above) shows these “sea hunters” in a Nootka canoe, carved from a single ancient cedar tree. See the online exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civilization: Where Sea and Land Meet. Many of the earliest and most valuable Nuu chah nulth artifacts are held in European collections, such as the painted cedar mask featured on the cover of the exhibition cataloque of the Ethnology Museum in Berlin, collected in the 1880s by Adrian Jacobsen (right).
“Indianer Nordamerikas,” book cover.
Ethnology Museum, Berlin

Huu ay aht house pole, Royal BC Museum, 2006.
Photo: Karen Wonders
Kiix?in was inhabited by the Huu ay aht for thousands of years and contains the best preserved remains of an ancient Nuu chah nulth village. The giant cedar trees used to construct Kiix?in are a valuable source of archaeological data: Building Quaksweaqwul (Dendrochronologia, 2005). The Kiix?in figures are regarded by the Huu ay aht as “first ancestors” who embody their close relationship with nature.

In 1882 Kiix?in became Kleeshan Indian Reserve 9 when the Canadian government established the West Coast Agency to confine the Nuu chah nulth peoples to specified reserves. In 1916 the size of Kleeshan was cited as 330 acres but over the years it has become reduced to 133.50 acres. The 1876 Indian Act and the 1893 Indian Timber regulations give Canada control over the economic exploitation of Indian Reserve forests, legislation that robs native communities of their resources and disregards the negative cultural and environmental impacts of old growth forest destruction. Two Huu ay aht welcoming figures carved c. 1860 for a potlatch and feast are on display in the entry lobby of the Royal BC Museum (right and below). Originally the two figures stood in front of the Quaksweaqwul bighouse in the Huu ay aht village of Kiix?in (pronounced KEE-shun). In 1911 a collector removed the figures and in 1941 they were erected in Victoria at an outdoor totem pole display where they remained as popular tourist attractions until 1968: Thunderbird Park.

Huu ay aht house pole, 2006.
Photo: Karen Wonders

Nuu chah nulth hat, Smithsonian Institute.
Photo: Walter Larrimore
First Nations sustained biodiversity in their homelands for at least 10,000 years before colonization, because it was essential to their survival and also it was part of their cultural responsibility. A cedar tree, for example, was prayed to before its bark was harvested and the tree continued living afterwards. The traditional role of a hereditary chief has been to preserve the knowledge and resources of his people. Not much is left of the cedar resources in Huu ay aht territory, which has been ravaged by industrial forestry.

Huu ay aht Tyee Ha’wilth Tliishin (A. Spencer Peters) is seen on the right wearing a wreath of cedar and holding a ceremonial cedar talking stick. He lived at Anacla, next to the Pachena Grove and some have suggested that the destruction of this sacred place with its hundreds of culturally modified trees – many of them ancient survivors up to 1,000 years old – caused him such grief that he died prematurely at the age of 59 on 28 September 2008. The government’s control over Kiix?in was further strengthened when Kleeshan Indian Reserve 9 was abutted by the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in 1977, and in 1999 when it was anoited a National Historic Site. Yet in 2006 a proposal was made to clearcut log 19,920 cublic meters of cedar logs from the Kleeshan Reserve. The tragic reality is that the ecological integrity of Kiix?in as an ancient indigenous heritage site is at grave risk. At the same time Nuu chah nulth culture, which depends on cedar resources, is celebrated worldwide as a living art form. A beautiful 19th century hat woven from cedar bark (left) is on display at the Museum of the American Indian. See the online exhibit: Listening To Our Ancestors.

Hereditary Chief A. Spencer Peters.
Photo: video still

People dressed in cedar garments.
Photo: Denise August, Hashilthsa
The species commonly called yellow cedar is especially valued in Nuu chah nulth culture. It is one of the few native species with a scientific name that tributes the indigenous people of North America. First discovered at Nootka Sound, the species has a complex taxonomic and nomenclatural history, beginning in 1824 as “Cupressus nootkatensis” (Nootka Cypress). It is slow growing and can reach well over a thousand years in age. But because of its high commercial value, not many specimens have survived destruction by the wood products industry. One exception is an ancient giant tree near Anacla that remains unprotected and at risk in a designated timber cutblock on Crown forest land (right). Traditional clothes made of cedar bark illustrate the central role of the cedar tree (left). Indeed, “The Nuu chah nulth vocabulary includes a different word to name each size of cedar tree indicating its specific use. Indeed the Nuu chah nulth People could be called, as one elder put it, the Cedar People” George Clutesi Curriculum Program: Nuu chah nulth Traditional Clothing.

Endangered Nootka Cypress near Anacla.
Photo: video still

Phil Carson: On the Loss of Forests (Click to read)
When environmentalists idealize the values, traditional ecological knowledge and philosophy of First Nations. . . they fail to take into account the social breakdown, the alcoholism, substance abuse and drug use, the foetal alcohol syndrome that destroys the mind and spirit. Also there is the impact of residential schools, junk foods, pornography, and all the other social ills that have been imported along with the whiskey.

Add to that reserve politics made worse by government money being controlled by whichever faction can gain a 50 percent majority; cultural shame exacerbated by overt racism in nearby redneck communities; the impact of epidemics of disease; and the fact that many of these cultures were traditionally hunter gather nomadic families only removed by a couple of generations and you can imagine how susceptible they will be to the Machiavellian manipulations of big corporations and their government handmaidens.

Huu ay aht post, Anacla, Pachena River, 2008.
Photo: BC government, “Our BC”
Used for ceremonial occasions, a traditional “Nootka” war canoe carved from a gigantic cedar tree is dry docked at Anacla (right). Anacla Indian Reserve 12 was one of the 13 Huu ay aht reserves laid out in 1882 by the government of Canada. It is an ancient Huu ay aht resource and village site that was devastated by a tsunami caused by an earthquake on 26 January 1700. For more on the legend describing this event, see Steven Earle: Huu ay aht Earthquake. The only survivor was a woman called Anacla aq sop for whom the estuary was named. Like most colonial derived place names in Nuu chah nulth territory, Pachena Bay is a misnomer. Anacla and the
Pachena Grove
The 2006 destruction of the Pachena Grove at Anacla is a sorrowful instance of mismanagement and greed by the forest industry with lasting repercussions for the Huu ay aht and Bamfield communities. The BC government uses aboriginal culture to promote eco tourism (left), yet at the same time facilitates the industrial destruction of the cedars which are the basis of this culture.

Huu ay aht canoe, Anacla, 2008.
Photo: Barek

Pachena Bay was cited on a 1861 British Admiralty Chart and again by the 1864 Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition. It was mistakenly identified as a more southern location named after the Pacheedaht Indians (the anglicized name Pachena means “sea foam”). Today tourists from around the world congragate at the Pachena Bay head of the West Coast Trail. The huge stumps that litter the beach are relics of the primaeval rainforest that was clearcut logged (right). Not until 1977 was a coastal strip protected as part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Pachena Grove was partially included in the park until a murky land swap was engineered by the logging company MacMillan Bloedel. Less than five percent of valley bottom old growth has survived industrial logging on Vancouver Isand, yet in 2006 the Pachena Grove was sacrificed. This irreplaceable loss of big trees and biodiversity may have additional environmental consequences on Anacla such as land slides and flooding.
Ancient stump, Pachena Bay, 2008.
Photo: Flickr

From Primaeval Rainforest to Indian Reserve (1882) to National Park (1977) to Cutblock (2006)
to Subdivision (2009) X – Pachena Grove A – Anacla Indian Reserve

Above: Vancouver Island 1860 (Click to enlarge)
Dark Green = Old Growth Rainforest Above: Vancouver Island 2004 (Click to enlarge)
Yellow = Logged Off Old Growth Rainforest

Above: Google Earth Map 2009 (Click to enlarge)
Green = Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Above: Google Earth Satellite Image 2009
Out of Date: Image Predates 2006 Clearcut

Above: Purple = Crown Land 2007 (Click to enlarge)
Green = Private Land Cutblocks Above: Dark Green = Crown Land 2007 (Click to enlarge)
White = Private Land

Above: Pachena Grove cutblock, 21 May 2007
Aerial Photo: Tnano Above: Subdivision of Community Forest 2008
Public Land and Anacla Indian Reserve 12

The Ruination of Pachena Grove – Spring 2006

Huu ay aht First Nation Heritage Plundered For Port Alberni and Foreign Sawmills
Left and Right: Felled timber in Pachena Grove after clearcutting. Yellow tape and red spray painted numbers which identified the c. 400 culturally modified trees did not save them from destruction.

“The issue is the old growth Pachena forest. A Huu ay aht company is logging it, but it’s run by a white guy. Only one fifth of the Huu ay aht want it logged and none live there. It is a shady land deal between some band members and Weyerhaeuser. It’s Weyerhaeuser’s land. Weyerhaeuser wants it logged and who better to log it than the First Nation? The hereditary chief was asked how he feels when he hears the trees fall and he replied ‘It’s killing me.’ The logging is really about a subdivision to be located between here and Bamfield”
West Coast Trail Worries.

Pachena Grove Destroyed Spring 2006 by MacMillan Bloedel and Weyerhaeuser

Gone Forever: Gigantic Spruce Trees, Ancient Riparian Ecosystem, Salmon Habitat and Indigenous Heritage
“The fisheries, the cultural and historical values and the views have all been effected, if not destroyed. The Communities of Bamfield and Anacla were lied to. Without changing the plan on paper, Weyerhaeuser changed the plan in the forest. The company should be charged for its crimes including the destruction of the fisheries and cultural heritage” West Coast Trail Worries.

Private forest lands, Vancouver Island, 2007.
Map: BC Corporate Information (Click to enlarge) Cover Up of
Corporate Crime
In BC, contested indigenous land and Crown land has been converted to private land through schemes engineered by big business and their government accomplices. The first such conversion of questionable legality was the Dunsmuir Land Grab in 1883 which involved almost a quarter of Vancouver Island: this area is seen in green on the map (left). In the 1950s, Crown land was converted to “Tree Farm Licences” (pink areas) which today are increasingly being redefined as “Private Land” (dark pink). In 2009, as part of this conversion process, the government announced a new scheme of “Commercial Forests.” For a shocking presentation of how little remains of the old growth forests, see: Wilderness Committee.

Land Grabs
“Defined Forest Land” (right). Corporate PR engineered with the devious 2004 Private Managed Forest Land Act. (Click to enlarge)
The process of legalized land grabs that began with colonization has resulted in the deforestation of most of Vancouver Island. In 1911 American investors got hold of the most lucrative forest lands and set up the first industrial logging operation in BC at Franklin River (the indigenous name is Owatchet) in Huu ay aht territory. In the 1950s the Franklin River Division was designated as part of a 452 826 hectare Tree Farm Licence No. 44 (TFL 44). In 2007 Western Forest Products identified a big piece of TFL 44 as its own ” Defined Forest Area” (right). 2008 government maps show much of this land base as “Huu ay aht First Nations Area.”
“Defined Forest Area 2007.” (Click to enlarge)
Western Forest Products Ltd (Text added)

Wakash Nation = Nuu chah nulth
Right: Detail of map
by John Arrowsmith, “British Possessions in America” showing
Vancouver Island and “Wakash Nation.”
Published in Philadelphia, 1804.
Right: Detail of a map by James Wyld, “North America” showing Vancouver Island and “Wakash Nation.” Published in London, 1823.
Right: Detail of a map by Sidney Hall, “United States” showing “Quadra or Vancouver’s Island” & Wakash Nation.” Published in London, 1828.
Right: Detail of a map by Eurgene D. de Mofras, “Carte De La Cote De L’Amerique Sur L’Ocean Pacifique” with “Nation Wakish.” Published in Paris, 1844.
Right: Detail of a map by John Arrowsmith, “British Possessions in America” with “Wakish Nation.” Published in London, 1846.

“Man of Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island.”
Painting from John Webber’s engraving, 1784
The Nuu chah nulth First People, well known since the expedition accounts of Captain Cook were published in the late 18th century, are speakers of “Nootka”’ and ‘”Nitinaht,” two members of the Wakashan language family. “Wakashan Nation” appears on all historical maps of Vancouver Island (left), yet the Nuu chah nulth are forced to take legal action to establish their Aboriginal Title.

Government Maps AKA Colonial Subterfuge (Click to enlarge)
Right: Map detail showing the Ohiet Indian Reserves in the West Coast Indian Agency, Department of Indian Affairs, Canada. Published in the McKinna McBride Report, 1916. Right: Map detail showing the Ohiet Indian Reserves. Published title: “British Columbia Aboriginal Lands,” Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2005
Right: Map detail showing the Huu ay aht First Nations “Land.”

Published by the British Columbia government as the Maa nulth First Nations Treaty, 2009. Right: Map detail showing the Huu ay aht First Nations “Area.”

Published by the British Columbia government as the Maa nulth First Nations Treaty, 2009.

Logging industry signs, Bamfield Road, 2008.
Photo: Flickr
Bamfield Road was built as a logging road to service the Franklin River Division of MacMillan Bloedel and it remains the only road in Huu ay aht territory. Logging industry signs on the road were photographed by a tourist in 2008 (above and right). It is revealing that the map (right) does not even include the Huu ay aht village of Anacla on Pachena Bay. Some of the most lucrative stands of old growth forest on the West Coast were located in Huu ay aht territory, in TFL 44, and it is estimated that over 40 million cubic meters of timber has been logged from 1940 until the present.

“Tree Farm Licence No. 44.”
Logging industry sign, 2008
“Map of Bamfield Road,” 2008.
Logging industry sign
One sign claims the area “Tree Farm Licence No. 44” to be “cooperatively managed” by MacMillan Bloedel and BC’s Ministry of Forests (left). In truth the vast profits made from liquidating the old growth forests have gone into private hands. In 1999 MacBlo was taken over by Weyerhaeuser, the notorious “cut & run” American company that sold out in 2004 when land rights heated up.

Franklin River Divison clearcutting, 1970s.
Photo: anon Everywhere in the Franklin River Division area of TFL 44, the valuable old growth forests have been devastated by clearcut logging (left). None of the fortunes extracted from this timber has gone to the indigenous communities who have suffered great impoverishment since colonization and lost much of their archaeological and natural heritage. The BC government’s bullying and rush to settle land claims by signing treaties which extinguish Aboriginal Title thereby giving “certainty” to the resource extraction industry is evident from the excessive amount of PR generated by the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. Headed by the former minister of forests, Mike de Jong is infamous and widely despised for his conniving style of double dealing with First Nations.

In addition to its unethical tactics in pitting First Nations against each other, the BC Treaty Process has come under sharp criticism for its lengthy duration, high cost and unimpressive results. The government’s trumpeting of the Maa Nulth Treaty sets alarm bells ringing. . . one “PR Blip” is the digital slideshow photo of a Hayes logging truck (right):

Old growth cedar trees are being exterminated in BC and with them will disappear the life blood of West Coast culture. “Why the Hell would any Native or Non Native want to destroy these irreplaceable forests? Go have a look at Klanawa Valley; Hayes Forest Company had about five grapple yarders going steady there. Go look at Carmanah, same thing.

Go look at Walbran, same thing. I don’t think the blame should be directed at a particular skin colour, but rather our provincial government for selling us out for a quick buck” West Coast Trail Worries.

Maa nulth Treaty webpage with photo of
Hayes Forest Services logging truck

Left: Instead of being condemned for his vile acts of nature destruction, the owner of Hayes Forest Services is honoured with a seat on the Royal BC Museum’s board of directors.

Far left: Hayes logging truck on Bamfield Road, 5 April 2006. Photo by a West Coast Trail tourist.


This is what the co opting

of First Nations looks like

Vampire Dance by BC Premier Gordon Campbell – Sucking the Life Blood Out of First Nations

Making incremental treaty deals, Clayoquot Sound, 13 November 2008 (Westcoaster News)

MacBlo’s Franklin River Division — Slash & Burn Cutblock — Sarita River — Huu ay aht Territory — Barkley Sound — 1998

Chief Louis Nookmiis
(1880 – 1964).
Photo: BC Archives
. . . Sometimes the whiteman takes a few feet of the Indian Reserve and claims it, and I am afraid to say much to the whitemen. I often go to see the posts, and every time I go they are in a different place, and I always put it back again. I told Mr. Neil, the former Indian Agent about it. He said ‘those surveyors know what they are doing but you do not.’ That is what he told me. There is one small Reserve that is not on the chart. The post is there yet, and I want to know how the Government got hold of that land” Ohiaht Meeting.
The Royal Commission “cut off” (removed) 640 acres from Numukamis Indian Reserve No. 1 which was located at the mouth of the Sarita River, ignoring native testimonials that this was the the primary salmon river of the Ohiaht people. Chief Louis Nookmiis complained: “The cannery men are using a seine for their fishing, and they catch all the fish going up the Serita river.” With 40 houses, Numukamis was the most populated of the Ohiaht communities. Two carved houseposts from Numukamis were collected by the Provincial Museum in 1911, one figure holding a salmon (right). Sarita River’s once rich salmon habitat was destroyed by MacMillan Bloedel’s gutting of the old growth forests in the Sarita Watershed, which is part of the Franklin River Division. Opposition to Treaty
Ever since Nuu chah nulth territory was invaded by Europeans, the First Peoples have suffered the theft of their resources and land. An early recorded denunciation of this colonial injustice is by Huu ay aht Chief Louis Nookmiis (left) who was present at the Royal Commission meeting with the Ohiaht Indians on 8 May 1914: “We get the wood from our own lands to sell so that we can make or get our food. When we go to cut wood on Government land, the whitemen always chase us away and put us in gaol – that is the reason we have to cut the wood from off our own lands. . .

Numukamis housepost, 1911.
Photo: BC Archives (C. Newcombe)

Huu ay aht Clarence Dennis, 2005.
Photo: David Wiwchar, Ha Shilth Sa The indigenous peoples were confined within reserves, like concentration camp inmates, while their resources were plundered and their children taken away and forcibly assimulated in residential schools. Huu ay aht Clarence Dennis (left), a survivor of the Alberni School, returned in 2005 to participate in a ceremonial cutting down of a holly tree at the entrance of the school (19 May 2005, Ha Shilth Sa). He explained that the holly tree had symbolized the pain suffered by generations of First Nations children at the school.

The family of Clarence Dennis has held traditional rights at Sarita Lake for countless generations. His dream to build a bighouse here was thwarted in 1999 when MacMillan Bloedel applied a new tactic to claim ownership of the unceded Crown land.

Clearcutting in the Sarita River Watershed, 1970s.
MacMillan Bloedel’s Franklin River Division
Huu ay aht David Dennis (right), son of Clarence Dennis, is a witness to the continued abuse of Aboriginal Title and Rights. In 2004 he was co chair of the Southern Region of the Nuu chah nulth Tribal Council and in 2008 he was voted president of the United Native Nations Society. On 24 July 2007, he wrote an open letter to the Huu ay aht explaining why he was opposed to the Maa nulth Treaty: “You should understand that through this agreement, the non native governments are achieving their goals of ‘finality’ and ‘certainty,’ meaning that our laws are finished and their laws will apply and prevail over the land and over us. This all is designed to trump any future challenge to the authority and power of the non native governments over our communities” David Dennis: Open Letter.
Some 37 Huu ay aht salmon bearing rivers and streams have been destroyed by industrial slash and burn cutblocks (left). Yet instead of paying compensation, the big logging corps engage in secretive and devious plots together with their government cronies to exclude contested Crown forest land from indigenous land claims and environmental legislation. Their expertice includes the unethical practice of driving wedges between First Nations and breaking up tribal affiliations.

Huu ay aht David Dennis, 2003.
Photo: anon

Corporate PR greenwash that claims logging is conducted in an “ecologically & culturally sensitive manner” is easily exposed by using Google Earth: see an image of the Sarita River log dump (right). There is no hope for the restoration of Sarita River when the rate of forest liquidation continues at such a frantic pace. “Feel good” endeavours (ie. the 1996 film on Sarita River “Heart of the People”) and scholarly work (ie. the 2007 thesis on the Huu ay aht, “As Sacred as Cedar and Salmon”) serve only to obscure the brutality of the global wood products industry and its hold on local economics. Thus the government rushes to get treaties signed and Indian title erased. As David Dennis observes, the high stakes have resulted in his people “being tricked, bought off, and in certain cases misled” as to how “it will impact their lives and the lives of their children” Open Letter.

Log booms at Sarita River,9 January 2009.
Satellite photo by Google Earth

Basket by Francis Williams.
Photo: Burke Ethnology Museum
Dolly Watts McRae (right) is an accomplished First Nations writer, business woman and guidance counselor. Born into a hereditary Gitksan family, in 1945 she was sent to the Alberni Residential School which she attended until 1955. She says: “We are entitled to payment from the extraction of our natural resources. We are a proud people and we want to be self reliant. We want to ensure that our children have a future. . . . Do not sign treaties that will extinguish rights to the land. Instead, what is wanted is a settlement that will entrench their rights to the land that will lay foundations of Native self determination under the Constitution of Canada. The First Nations wish to have jurisdiction over the lands that are scheduled for development. First Nations have to become part of the decision making process in all areas such as parks, marinas, fishery, forestry, mining and so forth” An Alternative.
Numukamis Indian Reserve No. 1 was home to Fanny Williams (1919 – 1996), also known as “Naa naas a tuks.” She was a weaver distinguished for her fine work: an example is the c. 1995 lidded basket made from cedar bark and grass in the Burke Ethnology Museum (left). Fanny is buried in the cemetery at Numukamis, or the Sarita Indian Reserve as it is also called. Traditional skills like weaving and carving require the preservation of cedar trees and the tragedy of their extermination cannot be cleansed by industry greenwash.

Dolly Watts McRae, 2008.
Photo: Westcoaster News

Opposition to BC Treaty Negotiating — Click documents below to read

Open Letter by David Dennis, Wasanc Listserve An Alternative by Dolly Watts, Canadian Culture Comment by Taiaiake,
Times Colonist Newspaper Comment by Arthur Manuel,
BC Treaty Negotiating Times

Huu ay aht canoe, Bamfield, c. 1900.
Photo: BC Archives
Also Secwepemc indigenous rights activist Arthur Manuel has commented: BC Treaty Negotiating Times. The long range implications of the treaty deals are unknown. Ever since whites arrived in their waters, they have used Huu ay aht knowledge, including their modes of transport (above). The destruction of Pachena Grove in 2006 is an ominous sign of what is to come. Two Huu ay aht Hereditary Chiefs, Victor Williams and Spencer Peters (right), lived in Pachena Grove and surely they must have felt betrayed by its desecration due to the treachery of MacMillan Bloedel – Weyerhaeuser. Professor Gerald Alfred (Taiaiake), director of Indigenous Governance Programs at the University of Victoria, writes: “If Canada were a country with a moral centre, its citizens would not be celebrating the achievements of the BC treaty process, they would be shouting out in anger against the immoral actions of their governments and the fact that they, as a society, are taking advantage of weakened peoples who are in the midst of social and spiritual crises, to enrich themselves, yet again” Taiaiake: Comment.

Huu-ay-aht hereditary chiefs, 2005.
Photo: Steven Earle

Clearcut forests and Pachena Grove (X).
Google Earth 2009 (Click to enlarge) West Coast Trail
The West Coast Trail is one of the world’s most revered wilderness treks and a hike must be booked years in advance. Yet behind the inadequately protected oceanside strip of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, the primaeval forest is being mercilously clearcut logged – a shocking fact easily seen on Google Earth (left). No amount of government – industry greenwash can conceal the commercial greed that is destroying the last old growth remnants here. Until a land swap was engineered by MacMillan Bloedel, Pachena Grove had been protected within Park boundaries.

Signs at Pachena Point Lighthouse.
West Coast Trail
West Coast Trailhead.
Anacla – Pachena Bay

Southern Vancouver Island.
Map: Click to enlarge
The killing of 1000 year old spruce trees for their commercial lucre as wood products is an ecological crime. Primaeval spruce stands such as Pachena Grove are uniquely found at the sites of ancient indigenous coastal villages, and on Vancouver Island most of these have already been ravaged. Pachena Grove deserved heritage status yet it was openly destroyed in 2006. The Pachena lighthouse, in contrast, is a mere 100 years old and has heritage status. In 2008 its image was chosen for a postage stamp (right). More media attention was given to the mistaken flipping of this image than to the deliberate ruination of Pachena Grove. Both the value of this rare stand of ancient trees as nature heritage and its vital function as a carbon repository are unestimable. Unlike the Pachena lighthouse, which could be easily rebuilt, old growth forest biodiversity as found in the Pachena Grove can never be restored or recreated once it is gone. Less than six percent of the ancient forests of Vancouver Island are protected and some of the most valuable timber in the Pacific Rim National Park (left) has already been logged. Tourists travelling to the West Coast Trail from Port Alberni see nothing but cutblocks. Pachena Grove was the only old growth stand remaining on Bamfield Road and its senseless destruction will have a longterm detrimental impact on tourism in the area.

Pachena Lighthouse postage stamp, 2008.
Photo: Government of Canada

3 June 2006
“I could not believe the so called selective logging they did behind the West Coast Trail. I drove back there in the fall: there are no forests left between the Klanawa and the Darling Rivers. Black Lake and Michigan Lake were pounded as well. You must have noticed the Pachena cutblock buffer: what a mess. The elected chief says ‘no more logging of private land’ yet he is logging every speck of that private land. The violations committed in the forests are mind boggling” West Coast Trail Worries. 11 June 2006
“Weyerhaeuser promised the town of Bamfield a buffer zone would be left between the Pachena cutblock and the Bamfield Road. This was so that tourists would not see the devastation of the last unprotected spruce grove on southern Vancouver Island. Weyerhaeuser took part of the Community Forest yet the town was not even notified about the clearcutting: that’s against the BC treaty process. Before when tourists came to this town we were proud to have the last intact old growth forest on the Bamfield Road. Pachena Grove was a magical site, like Cathedral Grove. Now its just another clearcut” West Coast Trail Worries.

Tourists hiking the West Coast Trail pass abandoned relics of the logging industry such as the rusting “Empire” donkey engine (right) used to destroy countless big trees in its day. Not far inland from the Trail, forest liquidation continues today. The massive cutblocks seen on Google Earth degrade the protected forest fringe along the ocean by leaving the surviving big trees vunerable to storms and blowdown.
“Empire” donkey engine, 2007.
Photo: Flickr

Big tree on West Coast Trail, 2006.
Photo: Flickr (Click to enlarge)
Along with the scientists who want to preserve biodiversity and the tourists (above) who want to experience the big trees of the West Coast Trail, are the communities of Anacla and Bamfield who know that ecotourism is one of the few economic opportunities that remain viable after the demise of the once lucrative fishing and forest industries. It seems ironic that students from around the world travel to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre to conduct field research on rainforest and fisheries biology. Yet at the same time the ancient trees that are the keystones of this ecology are being ruthlessly exterminated. In Bamfield itself, only one giant tree, often photographed, remains (right).

Due to the commercial value of ancient trees, they are not only clearcut logged using huge grapple yarders, but also targeted in remote areas by helicopter logging operations. Corporations spend big bucks on PR to cover up their eco crimes and vaunted certification schemes are surreptitiously put into practice, while the public is stuck with the long term burden of restoring ravaged community watersheds. The immeasurable value of big trees as reservoirs of intact biodiversity is ever more critical as ecologists report that climate change is contributing to an increased mortality rate of the giant inhabitants of old growth forests (January 2009, Science Magazine). They fear a sudden and widespread “dieback” may result that will devastate the already endangered native forests of the Northwest Coast, leaving fewer living trees to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Ancient cedar tree, Bamfield, 2008.
Photo: Flickr

Left: Click image to read the West Coast Trail Worries
The communities of Bamfield and Anacla lost an important part of their natural heritage with the clearcutting of the stand of ancient spruce trees at Pachena Grove, originally part of the 1977 Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Weyerhaeuser employee Stan Coleman is accused of lying when he promised that no damage would be done to the fisheries or to the unique history of the area.
Macmillan Bloedel and its successor Weyerhaeuser maneuvered the destruction of Pachena Grove using the slick forest industry lobbyist Linda Coady. The unethical and devisive manipulation of impoverished indigenous communities and the wrecking of rare natural monuments and aboriginal heritage are the hallmarks of resource exploitation in BC. Assisted by irresponsible government agents and their underhanded deals, logging companies use frequent takeovers and name changes to avoid public condemnation. Weyerhaeuser, for example, sold out in 2004 to Brascan which was then flipped to Brookfield, a Bahamas registered corporation with no ties to BC communities.
West Coast Trail, Pachena Bay, July 2008.
Photo: Tracy and Joe

Logging truck on Bamfield Road, 2008.
Photo: Flickr Another act perpetrated by industry and government was the sabotage of the Bamfield Huu ay aht Community Forest. See the online discussion: West Coast Trail Worries. Charged for his criminal mafia deals, Jack Purdy’s victimizing of Bamfield has been a well publicized scandal. See: Baffled in Bamfield (Vancouver Sun, 6 September 2002). Ever since Huu ay aht lands were invaded by colonists in 1860, the indigenous people have suffered from the racist policies of imperial culture. Stolen forest resources and timber export were at the heart of the founding of Bamfield and BC’s first sawmill on the Alberni Canal. See David Rossiter: Lessons in Possession. It is unacceptable that today colonial style abuse continues disguised as celebratory rhetoric in treaty negotiations.

Primaeval forest log dump near Kennedy Lake in Rankin Cove, Clayoquot Sound
Photos by Suzanne and Steve Lawson, March 2008 (Click to enlarge)

Measuring an endangered big tree, 2008.
Photo: Friends of Clayoquot Sound Threat to Clayoquot Sound
A new “war in the woods” arose in 2008 over old growth logging in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere. Since the 1993 protests, the logging industry and BC government have plotted how to render ineffective the worldwide condemnation of rainforest destruction here, coming up with the ruse of “native logging.” Thus the incremental treaty signed with the Tla o qui aht First Nation on 13 November 2008 set alarm bells ringing, especially as it is part of the wider chopping up of First Nations territories already set in motion.

Above: Watercolour entitled “Coast of Vancouver Island, off Clayoquot Sound, June 30, 1874.” By Henry Wood Elliot, Smithsonian Institution.

Left: Engraving entitled “An Indian with a flag of truce in Clayoquat [sic].” Unknown engraver and source, BC Archives.

The rich fisheries off the West Coast of Vancouver Island have been severely depleted since the 1874 painting of natives fishing the halibut shoals (above). Also the forest resources have been robbed from the indigenous peoples, leaving the land degraded and salmon rivers ruined. Of all Northwest Coast communities, the Tla o qui aht were most famed for their ferocity and resistance to the colonial invaders.

The engraving of Chief Wickaninnish (left) likely relates to a true event at Clayoquotin 1811. But the Chief’s “flag of truce” was a colonial invention. The context of today’s treaty process is similarly suspicious and has been rejected by Tla o qui aht muschim (community members). Reference: Chiinuuks (Ruth Ogilvie): Muschim Raise Treaty Concerns

6.) Conclusions.

7.) Recommendations for resolution of all outstanding Land Clams and Treaties.

8.) Blueprint for Negotiations.

9.) Timeline

10.) Agenda

11.) Participants

12.) Biography: Robert S. Stewart:

Robert Sandford Stewart DRAFT Biography for Wikipedia
(Drafted by Professor Marni Andrews of Western University, Waterloo Ontario, and John Brown College, Toronto and Merrit Malloy, Poet, Author, Screenplay Writer and Producer, Los Angeles California, 2006-2015).

Robert Sandford Stewart (born 26 July 1947 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) is a Canadian-Swiss entrepreneur, petroleum, mining, infrastructure and telecom company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, author, former statesman and Canadian diplomat, ecologist, athlete, investor, college lecturer and developer of transformative technologies that have improved many global industries.

His Father was John Shirley Stewart (born in Winnipeg 1914, deceased 1979) served as a young man during WWII with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and later with the Manitoba Provincial Government Treasury. He was a Warden in his Anglican Church, a leader of his Masonic Lodge and President of the Kinsmen Charity and Public Service Club.

His Great Grandfather Frank Shirley Stewart co-founded the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) held the first seat on it with James Richardson of Kingston Ontario and Winnipeg. He helped to found several dozen oil, gas, mining, hotel chain, railway and banking companies in Canada.

His mother Christine Mary Hutton (born in Brandon, Manitoba 1917), is now 98 years old, born on the same month, day, and hour, 30 years apart from her son. She was a registered nurse who trained at the Brandon General Hospital and specialized in paediatrics.

John S. Stewart Christine Hutton Victoria Beach July 1948 U. of Manitoba B.A. 1968

Stewart was raised in the Anglican Church of Canada where he was a boy chorister, acolyte and server. He also studied comparative Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and the origins of Christianity for many years in High Schools and University (St. John’s College Divinity School). He has a brother (Dean Anthony, B. Elect. Eng., M. Sc. Eng. born in 1952) and sister (Catherine Mary Ellen Lee, R.N., B.N., born in 1949).

His four children are Jonathon Aaron Wharton Stewart (born at the Riverside Hospital in Ottawa Canada on May 15th1975), Andrea Letelier de St. Just (born in London, born at Princess Marina Hospital, Hammersmith, London U.K. on March 15th 1978), Christina Nelly Anne (born in St. Gallen, Switzerland on April 1st, 1988) and Julian Anthony Wharton (born at Grace Hospital in Winnipeg, on April 5th 1990). He was twice married and divorced. While born a Scots Canadian, he acquired an additional Swiss citizenship in 2003 after living in the country intermittently for 20 years since 1978.

His family are descendants of Scots ancestry dating back to the Doomsday Book (11th Century). One line descended through his paternal grandmother (the Wharton’s, a Ducal Heredity from Kirkby Stephen, Northumberland which included 5,000 acres of sheep runs and a Grade I Listed House [Wharton Hall] after securing major military victories during the reign of King Henry VIII).

Phillip 1st Duke of Wharton Phillip 2nd Duke Wharton Phillip 5th Duke of Wharton 1574

Wharton Hall, Northumberland The House of Stewart in Scotland

The Royal House of Stewart Stewart Tartans Stewart Coat of Arms Wharton Coat of Arms

The Stewart’s came from across the length of Scotland as descendants of the Royal Stewart clan that ruled over England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales from 1371 to 1707. Stuart/Stewart is spelled differently North or South of the border as the English language had no “U” in its alphabet when the Royal Stuarts moved to London to assume the throne of England.

Other members of the family descended from various strands of the Stewart Royal Family until ending up in Canada in the 1880’s. Stuart’s were being beheaded and had their lands stolen from them by invading English royals and military who took over the throne of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales after 1707. Several Royal Warrants proclaiming many of these ancestors exist.

Robert the Stewart II Bonnie Prince Charlie Stewart Queen Mary Stuart

The Royal House ended in 1707 when the direct family descendants in England were wiped out by successive reigning royal families, death, disease, or survivors emigrated to the crown colonies of Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. The first Stewart to arrive in Canada was Robert Stewart’s Great Grandfather who was one of the founders of and held the first seat on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) – Frank Shirley Stewart. The family resided in a prominent house on Queen’s Park in Toronto which is now a private girl’s Catholic day school.

His paternal grandmother’s father Edward Anthony Wharton Gill was born in Scraptoft, England in 1858, received his primary education at Loughborough Grammar School and later attended the University of London. He briefly taught at Market Drayton and in the Danish West Indies before immigrating to Canada in 1884. Gill went back to school at the University of Manitoba and was ordained an Anglican priest.

He then returned to teaching and became a professor of theology at St. John’s College, University of Manitoba, the first University in Western Canada (1867).He authored two novels – Love in Manitoba (1911) and An Irishman’s Luck (1914). He also released a semi-autobiographical work entitled A Manitoba Chore Boy in 1912. [Wikipedia]. These were printed as the first native English Literature school books and distributed to millions of students across Canada.

Stewart was named after Robert II who founded the Royal House of Stewart. His uncle Sandford Stewart, for whom he received his middle name, commanded a regiment of the Queen’s Own Rifles that landed on D-Day in France on June 6th 1944 and later liberated the Netherlands. The Queens of Holland annually ship hundreds of thousands of tulips to Parliament Hill in Ottawa every year in commemoration of that Liberation. The Queen of the Netherlands and her family stayed in Ottawa at Stornoway House (Scottish birthplace of his maternal grandmother) throughout the duration of the Second World War (1939-1945).

Childhood and Early Life 1947-1968

Stewart was born in the capital of Manitoba, Winnipeg, on the prairies of Western Canada. He was educated at Linwood Primary School (1952-54) and Strathmillan Middle School (1954-55) in St. James, a suburb of Winnipeg, a city of 500,000. His other Middle Schools were Westmount School in Fort William, (now Thunder Bay), Ontario (1956-57), Flin Flon School (1958-59) in Manitoba. He attended High Schools at Dauphin Collegiate Technical Institute (1960-1963) and United College (1964), part of the University of Winnipeg where he was active on the student council and played several sports on Varsity Teams.

He attended university from 1964-1968 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. John’s College, the University of Manitoba in September 1968. He subsequently attended the University of Winnipeg (Public Administration – 1969), Carleton University (School of International Affairs, Ottawa 1970), University of Toronto (1971) and Yale University (specializing in International Political Economy 1985-86).

His youth comprised of singing in the St. James Anglican Choir, attending Wolf Cubs and Boy Scouts (where he was a Queen Scout), the YMCA swimming and gymnastics classes, an officer in the Royal Canadian Artillery Army Militia and Cadets (where he was a Master Cadet, Lieutenant, Captain and Corps Commander of the 26th Field Regiment at the age of 18).

He travelled across most of North America with his family on vacations and spent every summer growing up at the family’s five generation summer cottage “Wharton Dyke” at Victoria Beach, Manitoba on Lake Winnipeg.

He was active and proficient in many sports including sailing (Soling class, National One class), swimming, tennis, mountain biking, golfing and later helped to organize many summer activities for the five thousand summer residents of the community. This included sponsorship of First Prize in the annual Victoria Beach Golf Tournament and Sand Castle Contest.

He was the founding Chairman of the Elk Island Society which preserved, restored and rebuilt habitat for endangered birds and spawning grounds for the Lake Winnipeg’s decimated pickerel fish population.

He contributed weekly articles and editorials to the Victoria Beach Herald under the pseudonym of “Beaverbrook”, a practice he continued for several decades with editorials, op-ed articles, letters and comments in the Winnipeg Free Press, Toronto Globe and Mail, New York Times, London Times, Wall Street Journal, the London Economist, the London Observer, and the Financial Times of London. “Beaverbrook” was the name of three generations of English Camrose Golden Retrievers, the family dogs and the title of Max Aiken, the 1st Lord Beaverbrook, another Canadian entrepreneur who spent most of his life in London.

While growing up in Northern Canada, he worked for the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co. Ltd. and Sherritt Gordon Mines Limited, as an air base roustabout (1966), an underground gold miner (1967), and an airbase assistant manager (1968). The fleet airbases flew a variety of aircraft including DHC-3 de Havilland Otters, Cessna 172 and Beechcraft Super 18, all on summer amphibious floats to land on water.

Stewart flew thousands of miles of exploration missions over the North West Territories, Northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan looking for mineral deposits. These culminated in the discovery (1964-66) of the giant Ruttan Lake Copper Mine deposit which was built into a successful open pit mine and operated for many years. Stewart started his professional working career helping to operate and maintain these aircraft for three summers while attending university.
University 1964-1968

While at the University of Manitoba from 1964-1968, Stewart was Vice President of the St. John’s College Student Council (a liberal Arts college founded in 1867, the first in Western Canada where his Great Grandfather Gill had been once the Dean of Arts, Science and Divinity).

He played on the inter-collegiate University of Manitoba Bison Varsity football team (as flankerback), ran all the College sports teams (basketball, hockey, football, canoeing, skiing), edited the college newspaper (The “Johnian”) and participated in planning, organizing and implementing many student extra-curricular activities over the three years he attended college (including the 100th anniversary of the college 1867-1967, and several winter tournaments).

The 1967 Anniversary Canoe Race down the Red and Assiniboine Rivers had over 1000 participants commemorating the voyages of the first permanent settlers into Western North America (Scots farmers protected by Swiss mercenaries from Mont-sur-Rolle, Canton de Vaud (1812-1814).

He organized regular Christmas vacations for hundreds of students to travel to Banff and Lake Louise Alberta in the Canadian Rockies as president of the University of Manitoba Ski Club. These outings were co-organized with Mike Wiegele, then a young Austrian immigrant and ski instructor.

Wiegele later teamed up with Nancy Green (Canadian Olympic downhill ski champion) and Hans Moser (ski film cameraman) to run the annual ski school and later set up the first helicopter skiing operations in the Rocky, Monashee and Cariboo Mountain Ranges.

That started Stewart’s lifetime interest in all forms of helicopter, alpine, and cross-country skiing, mountain habitat and resort lodges around the world. He later invested in, designed, sponsored and constructed five star resorts, hotels and lodges in Africa, Switzerland, Austria and Canada.

Stewart was a member of the Alpha Tau Chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity founded at Yale University. It had membership of five US Presidents (Rutherford Hayes, Teddy Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, George Herbert Walker Bush, George Walker Bush), publisher William Randolph Hearst, Rear Admiral Sidney Souers, First Director of the CIA, Sargeant Shriver, First Director of the US Peace Corps, the explorer Admiral Perry of the North Pole and several prominent CEO’s of major multinational corporations, athletes and journalists.

First Land-based Global Circumnavigation 1968-1969

In September 1968, Stewart started the first solo, overland circumnavigation of the world. From London, he acquired a specially-built 88″ short-wheel-base Land Rover outfitted with additional a robust engine, spare parts and auxiliary petrol tanks. The trip would take him 150,000 kilometres to 161 countries around the world on five continents.

Without prior knowledge, (he didn’t realize at the time that) he was the first person to ever accomplish this feat. While sailors had circumnavigated the world on water for many centuries, no one had driven overland in a continuous trip through most countries of the world, connecting between continents with ships.

1968-1969 Land Rover-1st Round the World Taj Mahal, India, March 1969

The route took him from the UK to Belgium and throughout all of the countries of continental Europe during the turmoil in the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia and the Paris student’s riots of 1968. Visits in and out of Eastern and Western Europe covered the first three months of the journey. Thereafter, he travelled from Algeciras Spain to Ceuta on the North tip of Morocco, and thence into Africa.

He traversed the Sahara Desert in three weeks without signposted routes or map, just a Boy Scout compass and sextant, traveling South from Algiers to el Golea, in Salah, and Tamanrasset, through Niger into civil war-torn Nigeria, in the thick of the Biafran civil war. Managing to get through hundreds of security check points and being branded a potential Biafran mercenary, Stewart managed to cross the country before entering Northern Cameroon, traveling down to Yaoundé, across to Ngoundere and into the Central African Republic.

While viewing the national Independence Day parade in Bangui (CAR) on December 1st, 1968, he encountered President (later Emperor) Jean Bedel Bokassa and upon meeting him, experienced his first African jail. He was charged by the national security officials of “watching the national independence day parade with evil intent”. He had the misfortune of being the sole foreign spectator surrounded by crowds of thousands of local citizens.

He departed Bangui the next morning by crossing the Zaire River into the Congo. The trip downstream to Kinshasa and back up to Kisangani proved very dangerous and treacherous as all roads since independence in 1960 had disappeared. Most travel was done in meter thick mud trails (being hauled through the jungle by World Bank tractors and graders) or traveling by river barge up the Zaire River. The trip across the Congo took six weeks.

From the Congo, Stewart entered Uganda near Packwach, the source of one of the main tributaries of the Nile River and enjoyed the first paved roads and English language since leaving Nigeria and the war zone. He spent Christmas at Makerere University before continuing down to Nairobi and spent New Year’s 1968/69 in Mombasa.

From Dar es Salaam, he travelled through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Southern Rhodesia, Botswana and South Africa, before returning by an alternate route back to Kenya and heading north into Sudan and Ethiopia. To get in and out of South Africa was not easy in those days and usually meant a one way entry with no exit, but he succeeded.

Entering Sudan was to prove much trickier. There had been no prior warnings from news media of a civil war in the country as Stewart stumbled into a massive rebellion by the black, Christian Southerners against the oppressive Muslim, Arab regime in Khartoum. He averted hundreds of roadblocks and conflict zones by traversing through Ethiopia and resting for a few weeks in Addis Ababa before continuing to Gondar, Axum, Lalebela, Asmara and back into Sudan.

By the time he reached Khartoum, no one in the Sudanese capital except high government and military officials knew that the country was drenched in a murderous civil war that would continue for another 40 years with 2 million deaths. A UN Ambassador flew into the war zone after Stewart briefed him. That started the long involvement of the UN institution in trying to end the conflict but to this day unsuccessfully.

From Khartoum, Stewart followed the old British steam rail line to Wadi Halfa and boarded the paddle wheeler for Aswan covering the recently dammed and flooded Lake Nasser. The boat stopped at Abu Simbul for Stewart to view the reconstructed Monument of Ramses II on the West side of the Lake long before the official opening.

Continuing down the Nile through Egypt, past Aswan, Luxor, the Valley of the Kings and Tombs of the Queens, the Giza pyramids, Cairo and finally to Alexandria, Stewart crossed the Mediterranean on a Russian freighter to Famagusta, Cyprus and Latakia, Syria before continuing through Beirut and Baalbek Lebanon, back up to Adana and Erzurum Turkey and finally across to India.

Trips to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Gaza, Jericho and onto Baghdad, Iraq, Amman, Jordan, Riyadh/Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and throughout the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman were completed on bus as the Land Rover would never have escaped entry to Israel at the time of the Yom Kippur war.

Traveling East from Turkey, Stewart crossed Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz and Meshed Iran, Kandahar and Kabul Afghanistan, Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore Pakistan, the Khyber Pass, and throughout the whole of India (Old Delhi, New Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Calcutta) before heading into Kathmandu, Nepal and the Himalayas. By foot, he crossed into China, Tibet, Sikkim and back to Nepal before continuing down to Calcutta.

He got a special pass to cross Burma (Myanmar) down into Thailand, across Cambodia to Vietnam, and back to Malaysia and Singapore. An old retiring P&O liner (the MS “Kuala Lumpur”) carried him through the South China Sea past Jakarta, Jogjakarta, Bali, and Bandung Indonesia and onto Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea before landing in Sydney.

A grand circle route around Australia took him from Brisbane to Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and back to the capital Canberra. He visited both New Zealand North and South Islands (Auckland, Christchurch, Wangaterra and Rangatiki), then continued on tramp steamers to Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii before being deposited in Valparaiso, Chile.

The trip through South America took him to Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Southern Brazil and back to Chile, along the Andes from Santiago through La Paz Bolivia, Lima Peru, Quito Ecuador, to Cali, Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena and Barranquilla Colombia.

A boat bypassed the Isthmus of Panama onto the Panama Canal as the Pan American Highway was not yet complete. The final stretch home took him through Central America from San Jose Costa Rica, Managua Nicaragua, San Salvador El Salvador, Tegucigalpa Honduras, Guatemala City, Chichicastenango, Lago di Atitlan Guatemala, Belmopan Belize, Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Zihuatenejo, Alamos, Hermosillo, Puerto Panesco Mexico, then onto San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco California, back through the rest of the United States and finally back home to Winnipeg Canada in late 1969.

Prior to leaving Canada a year and a half earlier, his Father had given him three goals to follow. He was not to stay in any hotels but in family homes in every country to learn their cultures, languages, religions, businesses and customs. He had to meet the Presidents, Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors and leading CEO’s of every country. Thirdly, he had to keep a daily diary. He fulfilled most of those objectives while writing 10,000 pages of notes from his daily activities which covered 153,000 kilometres of mostly unpaved backcountry roads into 161 countries.

Early Career 1970-1976

Returning to Canada, he worked for half a year at a Canadian commercial financial institution (Industrial Acceptance Corporation) financing heavy equipment purchases for the mining, construction, transport and petroleum industries, before departing for Ottawa where he subsequently joined the Federal Government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, in the capacity of Special Assistant to the Federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (October, 1970).

He was appointed Director of National Welfare programs in the Ministry of National Health and Welfare. He later joined the Commission to Study Research and Science Policy in Canada (1971) with Dr. Louis-Philippe Bonneau (Rector, Laval University), Dr. Alexander Corry, (President, Queen’s University), and Father Lucien Michaud SJ, (President, Laurentian University) .

Laval Rector LP Bonneau Queens President Alexander Corry Lloyd Axworthy Presentation

The Study commissioned by the Federal Government and the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada was entitled: “The Rationalization of University Research in Canada”. It still holds to be the landmark document of how all University research programs are prioritized and funded in Canada. The Commission interviewed 2564 scientists in all 65 Universities and 132 disciplines across Canada. The policy outlined in the Report was adopted by the Government of Canada, all provincial Governments and Universities, private sector funding corporations and councils (National Research Council, Social Science and Humanities Research Councils, Medical Research Council of Canada).

In 1973 he joined the Canadian Foreign Service as a Diplomat/Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of External Affairs. Over three years, he was assigned to the Prime Minister to assist in staging the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (1973). He ran bilateral relations with the Soviet Union (1974) working daily with Alexander (“Sasha”) Yakovlev, Secretary of the Soviet Politburo, Ambassador to Canada, author of the books “Perestroika” and “Glasnost”, and later Chairman of Moscow Television.

Yakovlev had been instrumental in promoting the rising career of Michael Gorbachov, weaning the USSR off Communism and introducing a market-led economy based on the Canadian model of a private and public sector joint management of the national economy.

Alexander (Sasha) Yakovlev Georgi Arbatov Mikhail Gorbachev
Secretary of the USSR Politburo, Chairman: Canada/USA Minister of Agriculture
Ambassador to Canada, Author USSR Institute General Secretary CPSU

In a meeting with CPSU General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, he quoted one of the most prophetic lines of the 20th/21st Centuries. The high-level meeting between visiting Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and President Brezhnev in the Kremlin in Moscow started with Brezhnev offering Trudeau the opening salvo of describing his “tour d’horizon” of the present state of the world. Trudeau opened with a typically dry, cryptic analysis in diplomatic language of East-West relations, North-South relations, inflation, unemployment, and all the usual academic sound bites.

Without letting him finish his first sentence, Brezhnev pounded the table and called a halt to the opening statement. He stared Trudeau down for a minute and then challenged him if he understood anything about international affairs. “I thought you were a seasoned international statesman?” barked Brezhnev! “Let me tell you a thing or two. Nixon and I are good friends. We talk every day on the red phone. He sends me a Cadillac. I send him a Zyl. The greatest challenge facing you and me, Europe and North America for the next fifty years is the preservation of the superiority of the White Race!” Forty years later, Brezhnev’s words are still ringing in everyone’s ears.

Leonid Brezhnev Anatoly Suslov Andrei Gromyko
General Secretary of the CPSU CPSU Politburo Member USSR Foreign Minister

He worked with several other members of the Soviet Politburo (including Anatoly Suslov and Andrei Gromyko) as well as Georgi Arbatov, Head of the USSR/Canada/USA Institute. Later he ran the African Affairs Division (1975), the Multilateral Financial Institutions Division (1976) which included responsibility for handling Canada’s annual financial contributions to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (Washington, D.C.), the Bank for International Settlements (Basel, Switzerland), and the establishment and funding for the African Development (Abidjan, Ivory Coast).
He worked closely for several years with Dr. Babacar Ndiaye, the founding Chairman of the African Development Bank. Canada provided most of the regional development banks with their start-up capital. Stewart’s portfolio included the Asian Development Bank (Manila Philippines), the Inter-American Development Bank (Washington) and the Caribbean Development Bank (1976).

He led the Canadian Emergency Assistance Team into Guatemala in the aftermath of the February 1976 earthquake that devastated that country, killing several thousand people,
AfDB Founder and Chairman Dr. Babacar Ndiaye leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and millions of babies and children without food.

He organized the first International Joint Emergency Task Force to lead urgent aftermath assistance in that humanitarian disaster dealing with the Guatemalan crisis. Thereafter, major humanitarian disasters in the world started to integrate planning and implementation amongst all international participants to avoid duplication of supplies or effort. The United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross and numerous governments adopted the strategy as a dramatic improvement to emergency bilateral and multilateral responses for subsequent crises.

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau Defence: Jim Richardson Foreign Affairs: A. MacEachen

Stewart returned to Canada where his efforts received standing ovations in the Canadian House of Commons for carrying out the policies of the Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Defence Minister, the Hon, James A. Richardson, and Foreign Minister Allan MacEachen.

They had all responded to his earlier requests to supply a fleet of 6 x C-130 military aircraft from Winnipeg’s Canadian Air Force Base and loaded them with emergency tents, blankets, water, milk powder and medical supplies. Stewart managed to deliver them into the area around Chichicastenango near Lake Atitlan, one of the most devastated areas, to supply over 25,000 people without military pilfering.

While the Quebec Separation crisis had passed on his first day in Ottawa, October 10th, 1970, the gathering storm of protestations between Quebec and the rest of Canada weighed heavily on his desire to develop the country. Along with his close friend and colleague from Winnipeg, the Honourable James Armstrong Richardson, PC, MP, Minister of National Defence, he left public life with the Federal government in 1976 and returned to his private life.

Mid-Career 1976-2000

In June 1976, he was contracted by Falconbridge Nickel Mines of Canada to negotiate and collect $2.5mm owed from the sale of Kilembe Mines by Ugandan Government. After meetings with President Idi Amin, he secured full payment over three years of the outstanding balance, the only company to receive any compensation from the nationalization decrees of all foreign assets by that government. The mine was co-owned with the Commonwealth Development Corporation of London.

Kilembe Copper Kilembe Mines Limited Swiss Ski-lift on Ruwenzori Mountain

While Stewart was staying in Uganda to negotiate payments with President Amin, the Palestinian Liberation Organization hijacked an Air France Airbus from Athens airport and landed it subsequently at Entebbe Airport.

Given Stewart’s access to President Amin, while staying as a guest at Uganda’s Presidential State House on the hill in Entebbe overlooking the airport, he was able to relay critical intelligence information on the location of the hostages to Israel’s Mossad in preparation for the aerial raid at Entebbe which took place overnight on July 4th, 1976. Stewart departed Entebbe minutes before the raid took place.

In 1977, Stewart and his son (Jonathon Aaron Wharton Stewart, born May 15th, 1975) moved to Geneva, Switzerland and took up residence in the Chateau de Novéry, near Jonzier, France.

The Chateau near Minzier, Jonzier France Gallery on the Fourth floor

Château de Novery, France The cellar Meursault

The 11th Century home had once housed Napoleon while he was attacking Switzerland. His name is carved prominently in Latin over the 25 foot long, ten foot high, ten foot deep fireplace in the main hall. Stewart lived there and set up an international consulting business called Interop A.G. which offered unique services to several multinational corporations, specializing in head-of-state negotiations over investment projects. He also engaged in considerable trade which included the sale of commercial aircraft, computers, communications equipment and agricultural supplies.

32a Victoria Rd. London Woolbeding, Midhurst, W. Sussex UK 22 Devonshire Close W1

In August, 1978 Stewart moved to London and took up residence at 32a Victoria Road, London, The Royal Borough of Kensington, W8. Over the subsequent winter, his first daughter and second child Andrea was born on May 13, 1979 at Princess Marina Hospital in Hammersmith.

Aaron and Andrea 1979 by Jacques Lowe RSS at Cowdray Park Polo Club UK

Stewart purchased Woolbeding Glebe manor house near Midhurst, West Sussex in 1979 and lived there for the next two years. He also lived for a year at 22 Devonshire Close, London, WI, in Haslemere, Hampshire and in Camberley, Surrey.

Machteld Schrama at Woolbeding Glebe, described as the one, true, great love of his life.

In 1978, he met Machteld Schrama of Hilversum and Amsterdam, North Holland, the Netherlands. He would describe Miss Schrama for many years as “the only one, true, great, love of his life.” They never lived together but travelled to Ravello, Sorrento, Capri and Rome, Italy; Woolbeding, Haslemere and London, UK; as well as Hilversum and around Holland. He described Miss Schrama as having a very powerful influence on his life for many years but they lost contact with each other after 1983.They were happily re-united in October 2013 and now reside together in Laren, The Netherlands. She helped to cure him of his deadly Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

He was a member of the Cowdray Park Polo Club and sponsored the team “Woolbeding Park” with international high goal players Antonio Herrera (9, Mexico), Carlos Gracida (10, Mexico), Alan Kent (7, UK), Johnny Walker (6, New Zealand), Johnny Kidd (2 U.K.) and Phil Rhodes (2, UK), and. Different teams that he captained won several Medium Goal cups at Cowdray Park, Cirencester Polo Club, the Guards Polo Club at Royal Windsor Great Park, Windsor Castle) and Ham Polo Club.

Stewart at Cowdray Park Polo Club, Midhurst West Sussex. UK Home of the British Gold Cup

In 1980, Stewart joined the Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco California, first as a Joint Venture partner on several mining projects, and later as a consultant to the company Chairman and CEO (Stephen Bechtel Jr.) responsible for developing numerous large-scale infrastructure projects in the UK (Eurotunnel, Piccadilly and Jubilee Underground Lines, all the North Sea Petroleum installation, pipelines, petro-chemical plants and power generating facilities) around dozens of giant mining, petroleum and infrastructure projects around Africa.

He formed several larger joint ventures with the CEO’s of Krupp Stahl Export (Germany) and LTA Limited (South Africa), the construction arm of the AngloAmerican Mining Company. Projects included the Kilembe Cobalt Processing Plant, writing the National Master Plans for the Republics of Botswana (1981 to 1985) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (1997).

DR Congo Master Plan 1997 Botswana Master Plan 1980-1985

The Botswana Master Plan helped to uncover the underground lake under the Kalahari Desert that had accumulated waters from Angola captured over thousands of years. This water was pumped back to the surface and used to irrigate thousands of acres of land along the Zambezi River which created a breadbasket to feed the people of Botswana, South Africa and later Zimbabwe. Stewart discovered this underwater lake after a dugout canoe ride with two Tswana Bushmen throughout the length of the Okavango, the world’s largest Delta in Northern Botswana.

Frequent earthquakes signalled the shifts in tectonic plates picked up by orbiting American space shuttles on satellite imagery. This accounted for the dramatic loss of the annual flood waters from Angola that was discovered under the largest desert in Southern Africa, the Kalahari. Pumping them back to the surface irrigated the land transforming the Desert into largest farms in Southern Africa and feeding most of the population of the Southern African countries (SAADC).

OMCO Copper Mine, mill and smelter Vale S.A. Pelletizing Plant in Sofar, Oman

From 1979 to 1982 he worked with the GM of OMCO MINING CORP. in Sofar Oman. He assisted in global procurement of the OMCO Copper mine, smelter, co-generation power plant, seaport, railway and townsite. This was a $325 million project. The mined-out property now houses the largest aluminum (Rio Tinto Corp.) and steel (Vale S.A.) refineries in the Middle East.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo Opening of Mohammed Murtalleh International Airport

From 1979 to 1985 Stewart worked with the President of KRUPP STAHLEXPORT GmbH. in Dusseldorf, Germany (Friedrich “Fritz” Schily) and the Chairman of STRABAG INTERNATIONAL GmbH in Köln Germany. He represented these Companies with the President of Nigeria for the finance and construction of the Mohamed Murtalleh International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria. This was a $337 million project negotiated directly with President Olusegun Obasanjo and opened on time and under budget without corruption, a first in Nigeria.

Tripoli International Airport Zuara Naval and Container Port in Western Libya

From 1980 to 1982 he worked with the senior executive of SIR ALEXANDER GIBB AND PARTNERS in Reading, UK, and represented the Chairman for the financing and construction of Tripoli International Airport, Zuara Naval and Container Port with the President, Ministers of Finance and Transport, in Libya. These were a $350mm and $175mm projects.

In 1981, Stewart also represented the Canadian Nuclear Power Agency (Ross Campbell Chairman, providing Canadian-designed and built CANDU heavy water nuclear reactors) for a small nuclear reactor project with President Habibie in Indonesia.

In 1983 to 1985, he was a Consultant to the Chairman of JAMES F. MACLAREN LIMITED for the finance and implementation of the Capital City of Plateau State, Nigeria, a $27 million project.

In 1985, Stewart moved to New York City and continued consulting major companies, including Bechtel, Exxon-Mobil Corporation, Drexel Burnham Lambert and Bear Stearns Investment Banks.

In 1986, while visiting Uganda to meet the new President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, he also met Dr. Willson Carswell, a medical doctor and microbiologist working at Mulago Hospital, Uganda’s first and primary hospital. A disease which was rapidly spreading across the country had made its first presence in Uganda years before killing a large number of the population. The disease became known as “slims” as people withered away in weight before losing all disease immunities and dying.

Carswell spoke publicly about the disease and became its most public and vocal critic of government failure to warn the population and take control to prevent it. He was eventually expelled from Uganda by President Museveni. After a few years, Museveni’s own family became a victim of the disease as his half-brother contracted the disease. Realising that the disease was spreading rapidly and was decimating a substantial portion of the Uganda population (1% – 5% 10% – 15% – 20% over five years from 1980-1985). Museveni would became a supporter of his government’s efforts to eradicate the disease. Stewart knew the disease (initially called “HTLV III”) was not well known outside Africa while it had every characteristic of becoming a major global pandemic. It was eventually branded as the HIV/AIDS virus.

Dr. Carswell, a medical researcher from Edinburgh, Scotland, presented Stewart with evidence of the disease and Stewart offered to carry the scientific proof to major laboratories for further testing. Several thousand vials of blood from infected victims who had died were carefully transported to Brussels and onwards to London, Paris and Atlanta. This was a highly dangerous act as carrying infected blood over borders carried severe penalties. However without research and prevention, the disease may have killed many tens of millions more than the 8 million who died.

By September of that year (1985), HIV-AIDS was on the streets of Europe and North America. Stewart became a public advocate for the next thirty years to support public efforts to combat the disease and find a cure. He assisted in setting up the Global Fund Fighting Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis in Geneva as well as the UN AIDS Secretariat with its founder Dr. Peter Piot (Belgium). In 2001 he uncovered fraud and theft of AIDS drugs in Uganda sequestered from this Fund that led to the overhaul of agencies distributing free drugs throughout the world.

Inga Dam, Democratic Republic of Congo Inga Shaba Power Distribution Line DR Congo

In 1987 he represented the Chairman of the Morrison Knudsen Engineering company of Denver CO and San Francisco CA on the Inga Shaba power distribution line project in the DR Congo (Zaire), the longest DC power line in the world (1200 miles through the jungle). Negotiations entailed the finance and construction of the hydro-electric dam and power line from Inga to Shaba Province with the President (Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Waza Banga) and his Ministers (Foreign Minister Bula Mandungu, and Prime Minister Mabi Malumba) of that Government.

In 1987, he moved to Zurich, Switzerland, married Brigitta Maria Gubser of Metzwil, St. Gallen Switzerland on October 10th, with whom he had two issue, Christina Nelly Anne Stewart, (born in 1988) and Julian Anthony Wharton Stewart, (born in Winnipeg, Canada in 1990). The family lived in Oberhelfenschwil, Canton St. Gallen, Switzerland, Calgary Alberta, Winnipeg and Victoria Beach Manitoba.

Christine Nelly Anne Julian Anthony Wharton Jonathon Aaron Wharton Andrea Letelier de St. Just
St. Moritz, CH MA, Bern, CH Boundary Oak School, UK Oxford, UK.

Stewart lived in Harare, Zimbabwe for 6 months during 1989 conducting numerous projects which included the start of the Elephant Hills Hotel, Golf Course and Conference Center. The Hotel was completed in 1991 and hosted the British Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Elephant Hills Hotel Elephant Hills Golf Course See from the air on Zambezi R.

Stewart’s hotel was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the conference was attended by the Kings, Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers of 57 Commonwealth nations. The hotel was the first to incorporate a professional golf course, several swimming pools and tennis courts, a nearby game park, airport and related infrastructure. This set a standard for international resorts that was copied by several hotel corporations worldwide.

In 1990, Stewart returned to Winnipeg where his second son Julian Anthony Wharton Stewart was born at Grace Hospital, the site of his father’s/grandfather’s previous death. The family moved shortly thereafter to Calgary Alberta where Stewart became President and CEO of Ocelot International Inc., Tangas A.G. and Camgas A.G.
Ocelot was partnered with the Mobil Oil Corp. for the development of the giant Sanaga Sud natural gas field, offshore near Kribi, Cameroon. In Tanzania, Stewart developed the Songo Songo natural gas well, field, pipeline, gas production and co-generation electricity project. On May 17th, 1991 in Dar es Salaam Tanzania, Stewart signed the investment agreement and today it provides Tanzania with most of its electric power.

Started in 1991, it took a decade to complete and was recorded as the largest investment ever built in Tanzania.
Dozens of mining companies now flourish with sufficient electrical energy across the country. Millions of homes are now electrified. The photo (above) shows (from the front left): RS Stewart. Back middle: Canadian High Commissioner David Rose, Energy Minister now President of the Republic of Tanzania, The Hon. Jakaya Kikwete, signing the original Songo Songo gas-to-electricity Agreement.

From 1994-1995 he initiated the Assiniboine Park Pavilion restoration including the design/construction of the restaurant, art gallery (completed by Hartley Richardson) and an outdoor performing arts stage (which was later built by the Hon. Izzy Asper, Chairman of numerous television and publishing companies in Winnipeg).

Assiniboine Park Pavilion Lyric Performing Arts Stage

He also presented numerous municipal improvement projects in waste recycling and incineration, two new major hydro-electric power dams (Connawapa and Wasqutam) infrastructure construction (roads, bridges, rapid transit & airport upgrading), tax reform proposals to Manitoba Premiers, Mayors and Councillors of the City of Winnipeg, Canada.

In 1995, Stewart and family returned to Switzerland where he continued to assist giant multinational corporations in projects around the world. One such project was negotiating the purchase of Tanga Cement Company Limited in Tanzania on behalf of the Chairman of Holderbank AG (now Holcim AG), the largest cement company in the world headquartered in Rapperswil, Switzerland.

Offshore Platform Songo Songo Island Onshore gas processing plant on Songo Songo

He undertook numerous other negotiations around Africa to acquire cement plants from national cement companies (Kenya. Uganda, South Africa) that had fallen into disrepair and losses. In addition, he worked on a number of new projects to build cement plants in Third World countries for Holcim.

Gas Co-generation Plant in Dar es Salaam. Tanga Cement Plant, Tanga Tanzania

In 1996 he acquired the patent rights to a Hydrogen Fuel Cell developed by Armand Hammer at the Occidental Petroleum Company, Los Angeles, CA and initiated efforts to have it tested at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (Oxy Fuel Cell Project). The project attempted to make commercial use of on-site fuel cells to power remote and individual buildings with power generated from hydrogen charged fuel cells using various metals as catalytic converters (platinum, titanium, and cobalt).

The project led to the development of several other companies that spawned numerous research projects to develop fuel cells for NASA rockets to power the Space Shuttles, automobiles, public buses, and remote power generation facilities without the need for building long-distance and expensive power distribution lines.

Also in 1996, Stewart started a company (Pyro Pure Inc.) to develop pyrolytic technology to burn waste materials. The process was developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratories and designed to reduce waste materials to their chemical base elements and by-products.

After separation of all municipal waste compounds at temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, the balance of combustible material was reduced to basic chemical elements by way of high temperature furnaces, with the off gases and heat generating electricity for public power grids.

The system was tested in municipal settings around the United States and Europe where it finally took off as a major commercial success in waste reduction and production of electricity. Switzerland now operates 15 public re-cycling plants and has no public landfills in the entire country.

Presidents Mobutu, Mandela, Kabila Ugandan Y. K. Museveni Jean-Claude Masangu-Mulongo

In 1996, on a trip to Uganda, Stewart was introduced to Laurent Kabila, a rebel fighter in neighbouring DR Congo. Kabila asked for help in developing his country’s infrastructure, mining, petroleum and electrical power capacities.

Stewart responded that if or when he attained any political power in the Congo, he would be prepared to initiate studies, finance and implement plans to develop the country’s resources. (See the Economist article – last page of this document, several New York Times articles and an article in a publication called Emerging Markets and another called “Africa Confidential” by Patrick Smith/London about the 1997 World Bank Annual Meetings in Hong Kong with Congo Central Bank President Jean-Claude Masangu-Mulongo).

By May, 1997, with the help of Uganda’s military defence forces, Kabila reached Kinshasa and overthrew President Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Waza Banga. Stewart arrived in Kinshasa during the following week and signed an agreement to undertake the largest review of the Congo’s resources and potential raw materials since the country was inaugurated in the mid-19th Century. He returned with a full team of Bechtel Engineers from that company’s US and UK headquarters, and began to study the entire country, which is larger than continental Europe.
This was a massive feat which took over half a year to complete. Aerial, land and satellite imagery was engaged to assess all the natural resource potential (minerals, forestry, petroleum, agriculture) and how to accomplish the reconstruction of the country’s completely failed infrastructure. There were no roads, railways, operating power generation or distribution lines, hospitals, schools, universities or functioning human settlements.

The country had completely collapsed and many say, returned the jungle as it was prior to the arrival of the Belgians in the mid-1800’s. Stewart criss-crossed the country hundreds of times and laid out a grid and plan to accomplish the fastest and least expensive method to get the country back on its feet.

Congo Master Plan Inga Shaba Power Dam and Power Line in the DR Congo

That would take a minimum of $50 billion in construction costs before giant mining and petroleum companies could re-enter the country to build resource installations. By December 1997, Stewart completed the Project and presented it to the Government at the DRC Investment Conference which succeeded in raising private investment to complete the project. Stewart returned with the Government Ministers to Kinshasa in December and attempted to start work.

The President had decided that he would rather have Chinese investment and support for the entire process, so flew to China to secure their promised investment. China offered a paltry $5 billion but failed to deliver that over the subsequent decade. The Congo continues today to be mired in decades of collapse and failure, and has never succeeded in attracting investment or building its resources since Stewart’s Plan was written.

In 1997, Stewart became Chairman of America Mineral Fields Inc., a company headquartered in Dallas, Texas and London UK, to develop the giant Kolwezi cobalt stockpile in Shaba province (formerly called Katanga) near Lubumbashi in Zaire which had been re-named the Democratic Republic of Congo (the original name). The country continued to flounder under reckless political leadership, corruption and a lack of comprehension for what was needed. Stewart resigned later in the year after numerous attempts to put the Master Plan and cobalt project back on course failed.

At several international conferences between Congo’s rebel leaders from Kivu province and the Kinshasa government (Durban, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, Brussels, Paris, Washington, Kampala and elsewhere), Stewart attempted to negotiate Peace Treaties but to no avail. The civil war festered on for another five years before a Peace Agreement was signed after an estimated five million people had died. Elements and pockets of the war continue to this day.

In 1998, he represented the Swiss engineering company Electrowatt AG in several projects around Africa including Morocco and Zimbabwe. These projects included a municipal waste-to-electricity plant in Casablanca following the successful construction and operation of these plants throughout Switzerland. In Harare, Zimbabwe, the company offered to build the Chitungwiza Rail line to replace thousands of obsolete buses that transported a million workers from the suburbs into the capital every day.

In 1999, Stewart initiated and co-founded the International Hotel Consulting Company (IHCO) with Thomas Gebert in Gossau, Switzerland. The company established benchmark procedures for assessing the efficiency and hospitality of major hotels in the world, utilizing a one-five star system which differentiated all forms of client appreciation of their stays in resort and commercial hotels worldwide. One such assessment was done to improve services at the Inter-Alpen Hotel in Lens, Austria, a multi-season, five star hotel built, owned and operated by the Liebherr Group.

InterAlpen Hotel – Winter InterAlpen Hotel – Summer

In 2000, Stewart attended the World Economic Forum Summit meeting in Davos, Switzerland and recommended the formation of the Global Fund Fighting Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis. The Fund was started in Geneva but took many years to acquire sufficient funding to initiate programs. Over the next five years, Stewart lobbied heavily in Washington and numerous other national capitals to convince politicians and civil servants to support the Fund.

Davos World Economic Forum Speaking at 2011 and 2013 World Economic Forum

By 2005, President G.W. Bush had announced a $50 billion budget from the US Government to finance prevention, research for cures, and treatment programs to end the diseases. Several prominent US political leaders including General Colin Powell can be credited with leading the internal, senior US Government decision-making to support this decision.

Later Career 2000-2012

Stewart spent 60 summers at his family summer home, Wharton Dyke, built by his Great Grandfather (the author and college professor Edward Anthony Wharton Gill) a century before. He was Warden of the Elk Island Provincial Park Bio-diversity and Natural Habitat Restoration project.
In the summer of 1990, he delivered one million pickerel fingerlings to Elk Island, incubated them in a natural pond and released them to Lake Winnipeg along with his neighbour Dave Stook and professional fisherman friend Willie Monkman, a native Cree/Salteaux commercial fisherman of several generations working on the Lake.

The Lake (11th largest freshwater lake in the world) had been severely depleted of all fish from overfishing and related pollution from industries and upstream waters of the Rainy, Red and Assiniboine Rivers. This restocking helped to fill the Lake as stocks and catches went up dramatically three years after this project, the only one recorded on the Lake. He sold the cottage in 2005.

Welcome to Victoria Beach Patricia Beach Satellite view Manitoba

Prior to the start of the new Millennium, Stewart had initiated a number of inquiries with companies working on a new form of telephonic communication called “Voice over the Internet Protocol” or “VoIP”. He started to work with Justice Telecom in 1999 which started to build the first VoIP Long Distance company using the technology along with satellite transceivers around the world.

Over 100 Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) were built around the world in as many companies in large population zones. Two large Network Operating Centres (NOC) were built at No. 1 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, (near the company headquarters in Culver City, CA), and a 55 Hudson Street, (New York City). The servers and routers were connected to the satellite and ground station ISP’s to create the first digital long distance telecom network. This had the effect of lowering long distance telephone costs to customers worldwide from $5.00 per minute to under $.05 cents per minute.

The company grew exponentially, especially in the Third World (Africa) where the opening up of low cost telephonic connections to the outside world created massive markets for the inhabitants. Stewart focused on building out more clients in Africa in 2000 by building numerous secure networks for private companies.

Later that year, Stewart became CEO of Franklin Telecom Corporation (FNM, listed in the American Stock Exchange) which was headquartered in Westlake Village, California. The company manufactured VoIP servers and equipment which helped to develop the revolution in long distance telephony. Several projects were built around the world including in Korea, the DR Congo, throughout Europe and eventually America.

At the World Telecom Union Meetings held every four years in Geneva, Switzerland, the term “Death of Distance” was used to describe the introduction of VoIP to telephony. Franklin Telecom was described in 2000 as the second fastest growing company in America by INC. Magazine. It had generated $100 million in annual revenues from zero the year before.

In 2003, Stewart was contracted by Motorola Corporation (Chicago, IL) to assist in the sale of cellular telephonic network equipment to the national telephone network of Nigeria, NITEL. Following successful meetings with President Olesegun Obasanjo, he fought and won a major international tender against numerous foreign competitors, winning the first of several $50mm contracts to build the NITEL network. Motorola failed to pay Stewart for his efforts. The Chairman/CEO of the company was subsequently fired by leading shareholders on the Board and the network division sold by a successor CEO to a competitor.

In 2004, he undertook a number of projects to invest in African agriculture projects in Uganda, Mining projects in the DR Congo, infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Cameroon, and more telecom projects in Nigeria.

In 2005, he returned to Canada to allow his children to complete their school education in English, the rural Swiss school system having failed them. He ventured to Alabama to assist in the rehabilitation of New Orleans following the devastating effect of Hurricane Katrina. He also designed a series of canals around Ono Island where he lived.

Beaverbrook I in Winnipeg BB II with Merrit Malloy: Writer Beaverbrook III in Malibu

The primary loves of his life have always been his four children. Three generations of Golden Retriever became the “family dogs”, all named “Beaverbrook”. Beaverbrook I (1978-1988) was reared at Woolbeding Glebe in Wesr Sussex and was an outstanding gun dog. He died in an unnecessary shooting incident at the hands of a Swiss farmer, was eulogized in The Times of London and was remembered for winning the Cowdray Park Polo Club Dog Prize with his owner, Andrea. Beaverbrook II (1990-2000) became a famous “nose dog” in Canada finding numerous lost children and uncovering millions of dollars of illegal drugs at the Winnipeg International Airport. He died a natural death in Bird’s Hill Provincial Park, at the home of Stewart’s ancestral Great Grandfather.

Beaverbrook III (1990-2012) lived in four countries with his owner (UK, Switzerland, Canada, USA). He worked with the Geneva-based Red Cross sniffing out surviving adults and children from under Earthquakes in Pakistan, China, Greece and Turkey. He was shown in numerous international dog shows, won top prizes at “Best of Show” and saw out a good life. All dogs were bred by Joan Tudor of Hayward’s Heath U.K., the “Godmother of all Goldie’s” who wrote the definitive book on the breed “The Golden Retriever” in which the Stewart dogs were mentioned. Merrit Malloy Monash, a screenplay writer, director and renowned poet from Beverley Hills CA (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “Valentine”, “The Special Olympics”) looked after Beaverbrook III (1990-2012) in his final years in Montecito, CA.

In 2006, Stewart returned to California living at Malibu, a small community strung 25 miles along the Pacific Ocean Coast, west of Los Angeles. He designed a National Health Care System for the United Stated based on an integration of the Canadian Public Health Care System (in which he had worked as the Director of National Health and Welfare in the Federal Ministry of Health 1972/73, Ottawa) and the Swiss Private-Insurance System (where he lived for two decades).

Dr. Doris Rapp, Environmental, Allergy and Paediatric Medicine. Dr. Stanley Dudrick

He set up a model for a number of integrated Naturopathic Health Care Clinics in California and Arizona which utilized a blend of allopathic and naturopathic methods (Dr. Doris Rapp, et al) 2007/09 Scottsdale, Arizona. The US National Healthcare plan was finally devised and implemented after the election of President Barack Obama in 2010 and it utilized several of the recommendations proposed by Stewart and passed through several legislators in State and Federal Governments. Mr. Stewart worked with Senator Sandra Mueller of California and advised her on improving California’s healthcare mandate which was later adopted as the National healthcare system by President Barack Obama.

In 2008-2009, he was the founding Chairman and CEO of the GLOBAL HEALTH PARTNERSHIP LLC at Yale University, New Haven Conn., USA. He created a biotechnology company to bring to world markets new molecules, inventions, discoveries and innovations in healthcare including “Atheromine”, a patented treatment for atherosclerosis, and “Myogence”, a patented amino acid, nutritional supplement to treat HIV/AIDS patients, high stress occupations, high performance athletes, geriatrics and others. He worked briefly with Dr. Stanley Dudrick founder and inventor of the IV Hypoalimination process to develop these products.

In the summer of 2009, he lived in Lion’s Bay, north of Vancouver British Colombia and worked on an oil production project in Casper Wyoming. The project failed to produce economic quantities of crude oil. Throughout the balance of 2009 and 2010, he worked on a number of private investment projects to develop several copper, potash, gold and uranium mines in Western Mexico (Alamos, Sonora), Ghana (Kibi District), Colombia (Antioquia and Choco), Western USA (Arizona potash, Wyoming gold, Nevada and California gold) and Canada (uranium and gold in Bissett Manitoba, Fort Saskatchewan, Kirkland Lake Ontario and Northern Quebec).

Kibi Goldfield in Ghana Alamos Copperfield in Mexico Antioquia Goldfield in Colombia

He led a team of three geologists who conducted a field trip on copper outcrops near Alamos Sonora State, Mexico. A full geological assessment NI 43(101) Report was published following this field work. He was later appointed CEO of Hawk Uranium Inc., a junior Canadian mining company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). He conducted several more detailed geological investigations that resulted in the publication of several more reports assessing the viability of many of the above-mentioned mining projects which took him across Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Mexico, Colombia (alluvial gold in Antioquia and Choco Provinces) and Ghana (Kibi Gold Fields) on several field trips.

Vale World Headquarters in Vaud Renato Neves CEO Simandou Iron Ore Deposit in Guinea

In 2011, he returned to live in Mont-sur-Rolle, Vaud Switzerland and worked as a Consultant to the CEO of Vale SA, a giant Brazilian Mining Company (world’s second largest mining company and largest producer of iron ore, nickel, cobalt) that purchased the assets of the Canadian mining company INCO five years earlier ($28 billion). Vale required assistance in negotiating the implementation of a project to build the world’s largest iron ore mine at Simandou Guinea, West Africa (costing $22 billion), as well as the Trans-National Guinean railway project and port loading facilities.

Simandou Iron Ore Project in Guinea Swearing-in of newly elected President Alpha Conde

The project included liaising with the newly-elected President of Guinea Conakry (Dr. Alpha Condé), Cabinet Ministers, senior Government officials, financiers, local governments and civil society. The project includes the construction of 1000 miles of railway connecting Conakry with Kankan (passenger and freight) as well as a wide-gauge, heavy-rail line for carrying iron ore to Buchanan Liberia. The 2.5 billion ton reserve will produce 90mm tons per year for shipments to the Far East.

Signatures with the RSS Investment Minister Signatures with the RSS Minister of Finance

Later in 2011, he initiated the African Infrastructure Consortium Corp., the Equatorial Investment Corporation and numerous projects to complete a Master Plan for the Reconstruction of South Sudan, the world’s newest country. Contracts were signed with thousands of local landowners in a 50 year leasehold contract, building a 46,645 acre agro-industrial and commercial capital city concession on Gondokoro Island and District along the White Nile River in the capital city Juba.

Juba Capital City Plan Free Trade Zone Road Pipeline and Railway to Lamu Kenya

Stewart wrote the 2012 Master Plan to build the new Commercial, Banking, and Financial Capital of Juba in South Sudan including a Special Economic Zone, Dry Port, Nile River Wet Port, new Juba International Airport, Cargo and Logistics Hub. The Project includes 300,000 acres for agricultural development.

He took overall responsibility for all project finance, building, and operations of all national infrastructure including main roads and paved highways, completion of the Cape-to-Cairo railway, all forms of power production and distribution, domestic and international telecoms, petroleum pipelines, provision of water and sewerage to develop a diversified economy of major agro-industrial and petroleum production facilities in South Sudan.

US Secretary Hilary Clinton South Sudan President Kiir World Bank President B Zoellich

Stewart attended the South Sudan Investment Conference in Washington DC in December 2011. This was sponsored by US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, several senior members of the US, UK and Norwegian Governments. Early in 2012, he moved to the Northern Italian city of Varese in Lombardia province.

Joint Committee of the British Houses Speakers of the British House of Commons
of Lords and Commons, London U.K. and House of Lords Committee

After several site visits to the new capital in Juba, South Sudan, he addressed a combined sitting of the British House of Lords and House of Commons at Parliament in January 2012, London. He presented the Draft Plan to British politicians, investors and corporate participants including Bechtel Corporation and Exxon-Mobil Corporation. Stewart completed the 2000 page South Sudan Master Plan in March 2012 and presented it to investors and the government in Juba.

That included the design for new petroleum production fields, petroleum pipelines, a national railway, roads, airports, a national capital area, commercial free trade zones, industrial zones and large scale agricultural farms. The 40 year civil war between the new country and its former nemesis in Khartoum, Sudan erupted in mid-March 2012, immediately ending all prospects of rebuilding the country.

The country had shut down all oil production in January and was without means to contemplate any new construction efforts. Despite efforts to resolve the conflict by the UN, African Union and other mediators, the country remains in conflict and stalemate, unable to progress. More than $50 billion in projects remain in limbo as do the seven million people of South Sudan and triple that number in Khartoum and throughout North Sudan.

Sudan, the largest African country South Sudan born on July 8th 2010

Presenting the Project with the RSS Ministers Meeting the Paramount Chief and Council on
people of Lokiliri Payem, Nesitu Boma Gondokoro Island in December 2011

Signing the Investment Agreement with Celebrating with the people of Lokiliri
Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Payem, Nesitu Boma, in South Sudan.
Investment Authority in Juba, South Sudan November 12, 2011
November 10, 2011

The new Capital City Plan for Juba, Republic of The new Agro-Industrial Free Trade Zone
South Sudan to be built on Gondokoro Island SE of Gondokoro includes a new cargo
includes new national and state capital buildings, and passenger airport, roads, railway, commercial, diplomatic, healthcare, educational petroleum pipeline, refinery, power
facilities and athletic amenities. production, agriculture and factories.

The Denaro Mobile Cash Transfer System

Mobile Cellular CASH Transfer Empowering 300 million women in Africa

In 2012 Stewart initiated several new development projects utilizing high technology in different sectors of the global economy. One is to develop a market for a global mobile cash payment system being developed by Ian Grigg (Denaro Payment System) and Ken Griffith (Nairobi, Kenya).

The system is a Mobile Payment Network (MPN) acting as a cash transaction system that will allow financial institutions (Issuers) to issue electronic money that works on any cell phone and will allow a subscriber of any mobile phone operator to pay make Person-to-Person payments to subscribers of any other network.

The system is currency-agnostic, issuer-agnostic and operator-agnostic. It can work on multiple mobile operators, amongst several banks, using any currency in hundreds of countries worldwide. The system will be demonstrated worldwide in 2015. Once adopted, this technology will lead to dramatic changes in the world of banking and international cash transfer (now a $1 trillion business worldwide) as a leap akin to the invention of the improved use of cell telephones combined with the global transfer of currencies without borders.

Upper Fir Mountain Tantalum Core Shack Road up Fir Mountain

Stewart is also acting as the investment advisor to the Chairman and CEO of Commerce Resources Corp., Vancouver B.C. (TSX: CCE.V) which has 2 World-class assets with positive PEA’s for both Blue River, B.C. (Tantalum) and Eldor, Quebec Projects (Rare Earth Elements). Optimization of all key aspects is underway with Pre-feasibility Studies being done by AMEC. The supply/demand imbalance is growing for REE’s with Tantalum in global shortfall, increased attention on conflict-free resources. There are ongoing discussions with potential joint-venture and off-take partners.

MacTung Tungsten Exploration NWT NA Tungsten Cantung Mine in Yukon Canada

He also advises the Chairman/CEO of North American Tungsten Corp. Ltd., Vancouver, B.C. (TSX: NTC.V) operating the largest tungsten projects in the world with profitable operations at the Cantung Mine (NWT) and MacTung (Yukon) $25 mm spent on geological development. Feasibility completed by Wardrop Engineering. $400 mm projects.

Robson Valley Recreation Corridor (Jasper National Park to Blue River BC).

In 2012 Stewart started work on the Robson Valley Economic Development Corridor of NE British Colombia, (between Prince George, McBride, Tete Jaune, Valemount and Blue River British Columbia initiating a number of new year-round resort projects in and adjacent to Jasper National Park in Alberta Canada. The Project had been started by Municipal, Regional, Provincial and Federal Government Leaders.

Stewart will build six major resorts, a renewed forestry and mining industry throughout the region. This involves the re-zoning, design, engineering, procurement, construction, operation and management of a number of world-class, year-round, outdoor, recreational resort projects. These will provide new winter alpine and one year round glacial ski resorts for new and remote peaks of world class Canadian powder snow. These will be built around three principal ski resorts:

1.) Canoe Mountain and Terracana Ranch near Valemount, B.C. are designed to support mechanized sports including winter sledding and summer All-Terrain vehicles (ATV’s). There are large serviced grounds for Recreational vehicles (RV’s), camping, lock-up condominiums, storage, repair and maintenance of motorized vehicles.

2.) Other sports include all forms of skiing (alpine, cross country, telemark, mountain) and snowboarding for beginners, intermediate, advanced and competitive skiers). Existing sports include mountain, cross country and road biking, motor-cycling tours, and dozens of other traditional sports (tennis, swimming, etc.) gliding, paragliding, sailing, rowing, and with hundreds of indoor and outdoor activities.

Canoe Mountain & Mount Robson opposite Sledding on Canoe with the Premiers opposite

2.) The development of a year round glacier skiing in the Prime Range Glaciers of Valemount (opposite Canoe Mountain), with Architect Oberto Oberti, Vancouver.

Valemount Glacier Destination Project (Oberto Oberti Architect) Mt. Trudeau & Valemount Airport

3.) The creation of the Saddle Mountain Resort Village as the first of Eight Peaks Mountain Region around the Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing Ltd. in Blue River BC. A Traditional Alpine village to support regular alpine skiing by ski lifts and many other sports will be provided.

Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing Limited Main Lodge at Blue River BC

In October 2012 he became an investment advisor/consultant to the Chairman of Sunrise International Inc. (an Edmonton based hotel company which built, owns and operates six hotels in and around the Rocky Mountain National Parks of Western Canada (Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper) in villages such as Hinton, Spruce Grove, Stony Plains, and a proposed new Log Cabin Lodge /Chateau at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, Jasper, AB.

Chateau/Lodge at Maligne Lake Permanent Tent Camp at Maligne Lake

This 100 bed, five star Chateau Maligne Lake Hotel adjacent to Maligne Lake is one of the most iconic, historic and photographed lakes in the world with caribou, elk, deer, Harlequin ducks, fish, animals, birds and flora. These new accommodations will be built in the traditional mold of iconic Canadian log cabin with some adaptations of quality Swiss mountain chalets.


In 2013, Stewart returned to Switzerland after a year living in Varese, Italy. He settled in the village of Saanen, near the famous ski resort of Gstaad. Stewart occupied an 18th Century farmhouse in Unterbort, a suburb of Saanen, the regional capital in the Bernese Oberland.

Saanen Valley in the Bernese Oberland consists of 11 villages including Les Diablerets, Col du Pilon, Gsteig, Feutersoy, Gstaad, Saanen, Schönreid, Saanenmöser, Zweisimmen, Rougemont, and Château d’Oex. Saanen, the administrative capital, dates from before the 10th Century. Traditional dairy farming and tourism co-exist with 7,000 local and international residents.
Stewart’s immediate project is to undertake a forward-thinking 35 year Master Plan (2015-2050) for the community including the region’s future transport needs. This includes additional roads, upgraded railway network and rail stations in Saanen and Gstaad, new radar and lighting facilities at the small commuter airport in Saanen, upgraded power and water supplies.

For year round culture, a new Community Concert Hall (LesArtsGstaad) capable of sponsoring weekly international, national, regional and local conferences and community activities is envisaged (International Conference Centre). Stewart proposes a permanent Market Hall for the region’s farmers and artisans to sell dairy produce, textile, leather and wooden goods daily rather than outside markets quarterly per annum. Improved medical, educational and communications facilities are also urgently required to service the present and future needs of the region’s 7,000 permanent residents, 13,000 seasonal visitors and 125,000 weekend guests.

Saanenland, Bernese Oberland, Canton Bern, Switzerland incorporating Gstaad, Saanen, Rougemont, Chateau d’Oex, Schönried, Saanenmöser, Gsteig and the Seven Valleys of Saanen.

He also plans to re-open the village hospital which had been shut the year before because of budgetary cuts at the local Village Council. He expanded the outdoor, sporting and leisure activities beyond a single season (skiing) to include dozens of year-round activities in all four season, including a significant upgrade of the regions 125 ski lifts, 300 hiking trails, and over 500 kilometers of biking trails. Stewart organized the fund-raising for the projects which exceeded CHF 1.2 billion. The project attracted considerate support from Gstaad’s foreign community which dominate the progressive development for future generations while the local farming community may take decades to realise the far-reaching and visionary plans.

New Railway Station and Market Hall in Saanen Menuhin Festivals in Saanen Church

New “LesArtsGstaad” Concert Hall and International Conference Centre, Rudy Ricciotti, Architect

Winter perspective in the centre of Gstaad near the existing Railway Station

LesArtsGstaad Culture Centre, partially underground with the appearance of a crystal grotto

Improved airport services for private commuter flights Improved Rail service

2013-2016: Advisor to Lockheed Martin Corporation (Skunk Works Division, Palmdale California, USA) to develop, build, test and certify the commercial Hybrid Cargo Airship. These will be deployed to build giant, remote, natural resource extraction projects worldwide (mining, petroleum, infrastructure, logistics, engineering, construction, and agro-industrial). Wrote the Master Plan to manufacture 20-500 ton cargo airships building projects valued over $100 billion including the Simandou Iron Ore project (Guinea) the world’s largest mine), Diavik Diamonds (Canada), La Granja Copper/Gold (Peru) and Oyu Tolgoi Copper/gold (Mongolia) for Rio Tinto, IFC/World Bank, Chinalco Group and others.

Straightline Aviation bought 12 x 20 ton cargo airships

Lockheed Martin 50 ton hybrid cargo airship

Lockheed Martin 100 ton hybrid cargo airship Lockheed Martin 500 ton hybrid cargo airship

Lockheed Martin Corporation is the world’s largest aircraft and defense contractor in Bethesda Maryland, USA and Palmdale California. Following decades of expertise constructing large extractive industries and infrastructure projects worldwide, Stewart guided the corporation into the commercial markets to manufacture a revolutionary new hybrid cargo airship that will access remote mining, petroleum, infrastructure and agro-industrial projects worldwide.

The Lockheed Martin Heavy Lift Hybrid Cargo Airship P-791 first flew successfully in 2008.

These helium-filled, lighter-than-air, cargo airships obviate the need to construct billions of dollars of roads, railways, power lines and other infrastructure to start these projects in areas such as Arctic Canada, the Andres Mountains of South America, Central Africa, Mongolia, and Australian outback.

The world’s largest mining and petroleum companies have not built many new projects in recent years because of the steadily rising needs to move into remote areas where infrastructure costs have become prohibitive.

Given the world’s future population projected to be 9 billion by 2050, new sources of food, minerals and energy products will become an urgent demand for much of the world’s population, with existing resources unable to meet this dramatically rising demand.

Stewart is presently working on two golf course projects which include an update of the 102 year old Monte-Carlo Golf Club perched atop the mountain behind the Mediterranean Principality of Monaco. Stewart is working with International PGA Champion Søren Hanson of Denmark. Hanson beat Tiger Woods regularly in the Ryder Cup matches and has won numerous PGA and National Golf Championships.

Søren Hanson PGA Champion Monte Carlo Golf Club Early morning over the Med

The other Championship Golf Course is integrated into a much larger new development. Working with a team to build a new year-round village of 10,000 people, this project is in Fernie, British Colombia Canada and called “Heaven’s Gate”. The web site accurately describes the entire project. Fernie has been universally raked as the No. 1 or No. 2 “Best Ski Resort” in the world. Ten metres of powder snow back up this annual claim. It will be only the second car-free village in North America. The other is where he grew up and spent 60 summers in Victoria Beach Manitoba.

View from the top of Fernie Heaven’s Gate Plan World’s No. 1 Ski Resort

The valley and town of Fernie Local Lakes around Fernie Cedar Homes above Fernie
This will be a mountain community served by a high speed gondola, cedar homes, an entrepreneurship college, shops, a PGA-level “Canadian Master’s Golf Course” designed by the International PGA Champion Søren Hanson of Denmark. Hanson beat Tiger Woods regularly in the Ryder Cup matches and has won numerous PGA and National Golf Championships.

Stewart has delivered several talks and lectures to students at various colleges in Oxford University, UK. These include St. Peter’s College, the Saïd Business School, the Smith College of Environment and Economics. He has been offered a Visiting Guest Professorship at one School to teach MA and PhD students in their final years at Oxford preparing them for the reality of the global market place. One such “talk” was hosted by Mark Damazer, Master of St. Peter’s College and canbe seen on their web site:

Plans are also underway to transfer the World Economic Forum from Davos Switzerland to Oxford University. Stewart has laid out a plan to incorporate a new Annual Economic Summit at Oxford for 1000 select CEO’s, Presidents and Prime ministers. The goal is not to use the forum as a PR window dressing session explaining away the ills of the world, but instead inviting entrepreneurs on the cutting edge of both technologies, tackling serious problems (unemployment, waste, diseases, corruption, poor leadership, bad management, lack of transparency, theft by white collar criminals posing as bankers) and coming up with solutions. Professors and students from Oxford will participate offering numerous policy solutions from arm’s length and then holding the participants feet to the fire to implement on an annual basis.

Non-Retirement: Throughout his career, Stewart credits several people with having given him their prior wisdom, knowledge, experience and advice which helped to create his own template for life. Those were his father, John Shirley Stewart, who died at an early age (65) in 1979, but were amply replaced by several strong mentors.

Those were Albert P. Jaffe of Dallas Texas, ex-CEO of several Mobil Oil (now Exxon/Mobil Corporation) running national enterprises including Cameroon, Venezuela, EVP of the USA in New York, of the entire UK in London) with whom he worked in Joint Venture while running the large Canadian Natural Gas company Ocelot International Inc. of Calgary, Canada and Tangas A.G. (Tanzania) and Camgas (Cameroon) A.G. of Zurich, Switzerland.

Jaffe worked frequently as a Consultant, Advisor, Board Member and “Eminence Gris” to Stewart throughout his career. He taught him everything about the world of petroleum, major financial undertakings and the responsibilities of ethical leadership in industry. The two travelled frequently to Houston, Dallas, Yaoundé, Douala, Dar es Salaam, Ottawa, Washington, London, Toronto and Calgary.

A second mentor was Michael D. Cruickshanks, of Saltwood, Hythe, Kent, U.K. Cruickshanks was the ex-General Manager of Falconbridge’s copper/cobalt mine in Uganda (Kilembe Mines Limited), Ashanti Goldfields (constructing and operating some of the world’s largest gold mines at Prestea, Tarkwa and Dinka Mines) in Ghana, OMCO Ltd., built a Copper Mine in Oman (OMCO Corporation, Sofar), Director of America Mineral Fields Inc. (world’s largest reserves of diamonds, cobalt, zinc, and copper operations in the DR Congo), and frequent Advisor to Stewart’s Mining companies (including Hawk Uranium Corp., International Cobalt Corp., TransAfrica Minerals Corp., and TransAmerica Minerals Corp.).

His various petroleum companies included Ocelot International Inc., Tangas A.G. and Camgas A.G. Engineering companies were Bechtel Corporation, Morrison Knudsen, Krupp Thyssen A.G., Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, Holcim Cement, and MacLaren Engineering. The two travelled frequently together to Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Brussels, Toronto, Ghana, Arizona, Washington and Calgary.

The third mentor was the Honourable James Armstrong Richardson P.C., M.P., of Winnipeg, Canada, Chairman of James Richardson and Sons Limited, and Chairman and Director of Richardson-Greenshields Investment Bank and Brokerage Company Ltd., Honourary Chairman Emeritus and principal shareholder of International Nickel Company of Canada Ltd. – INCO, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), TransCanada Pipelines Limited (TCPL, Air Canada and dozens of large Canadian corporations.

Richardson and Stewart served together in the Federal Canadian Government in Ottawa under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (1968-1876). Both resigned from Government as a result of the failed policies of the Government to address the issues of Quebec Independence and the stable development of the Canadian economy. They set up the Canadian West Society to promote the orderly and sustained development of Canada’s West and North left idle for a century under Quebec-dominated Federal Government.

Richardson was the elected Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre and served as Minister of Supply and Services (1968-72), Minister of National Defense (1972-1976 and was twice Chairman of the NATO Council of Ministers (Brussels). He and Stewart travelled frequently together to Ottawa, Toronto, London, Midhurst U.K., Dar es Salaam, Calgary, Houston, and Dallas, Texas. Richardson died in 2004.

Other business, educational and professional colleagues included J. Duncan Edmonds, a Director of numerous Multinational Corporations including the MacRae Group(Phoenix, AZ, Safeway’s (Calgary and San Francisco), Boise Cascade (Idaho), MacLaren Engineering, Toronto), Cohen Metal Works (Montreal). Edmonds had been the Executive Assistant to Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, Foreign Policy Advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark, and a Canadian Minister of Defence.

He was also a Professor of Canadian Studies at Yale University and a member of the America’s Society in New York City. He delivered a major speech to the US Congress on the Unification of the North American Free Trade Market.

Another senior business colleague was Friedrich (Fritz) Schily, the CEO of Krupp Stahl Export A.G., Essen, Germany with whom Stewart worked together on the construction and finance for the Murtalleh Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria.

Stewart now lives in Laren, Noord Holland, the Netherlands and Monte-Carlo, Monaco.
References: Telephone numbers and Email addresses given upon request.



J. Duncan Edmonds: Director of numerous Multinational Corporations (MacRae Group, Safeway’s, Boise Cascade, MacLaren Engineering), Executive Assistant to Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and Foreign Policy Advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark, and the Canadian Minister of National Defence James A. Richardson. He is a Professor at Yale University and member of the Americas Society. Delivered a Speech to US Congress on the Unification of the North American Free Trade Market.

Partner from 1976-1996 with the Honourable James Armstrong Richardson, M.P., P.C., Chairman James Richardson and Sons Limited, Canadian Minister of National Defence (1971-76), twice President of the NATO Council of Ministers, Chairman Emeritus of INCO, CIBC, TransCanada Pipelines, Air Canada, and others. Jim died in May, 2004.

The Honourable Gordon Campbell, Canadian High Commissioner, London, former Premier of British Columbia.

Mr. Gordon Taylor, CEO of Intelligent Air, former son-in-law of Vincent Massey, former Governor General of Canada.

Mr. Craig Matthew, SVP, Ocelot International, Tangas AG.

Dr. Robert Boyd, Program Director, Hybrid Cargo Airship Project, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Skunk Works, Palmdale, California.

Mr. Willie Monkman, Director, Freshwater Fish Corporation, Commercial Fisherman, Saulteaux Tribal Chief, Selkirk and Victoria Beach, Manitoba

The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Canada. President, University of Winnipeg.

Professor Teddy Roosevelt Malloch, Oxford University, University of Toronto, Yale University, Former US Ambassador, Director World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, nephew and Grandson of a US President (Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt).

Pépé Grégoire, world-renowned sculptor and artist, in Laren, Noord Holland, The Netherlands.

Gabrielle Kindert, Managing Director, Global Head of Loans, BNP Paribas, London, Paris, USA.

Søren Hansen, Professional Golfer, PGA Champion, National Golf Champion since 1986, member of the European Golf Tour and member of the Ryder Cup Golf Team.

Phillipe Boname, CEO, Urbanics Inc., Urban planner who assisted in creating Vancouver as the No. 1 City in the world, worked with hundreds of cities and communities in British Columbia and worldwide.

Renato Neves, CEO, Vale S.A., world’s largest mining company producing iron ore, nickel, bauxite and hundreds of minerals and metals worldwide, purchased the assets of INCO in 2006 for $19.4 billion.

Bruce Dickinson, Lead Singer Iron Maiden, one of the world’s longest running and most famous rock bands, pilot and owner of a 747 aircraft, Cardiff Aviation, and numerous companies in the UK.

General Wesley Clark, Supreme Allied commander, NATO, former contender for President of the United States.

Dr. Babacar Ndiaye, President and Founder, African Development Bank.

Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Dr. Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda.

Dr. Festus Mogae, President, Republic of Botswana.

Dr. Gaositwe Chiepe, Minister of Water and Minerals, Botswana.

Dr. Olesegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria and African Union.

Mr. Fritz Schily, CEO of Krupp Stahl Export, Krupp Thyssen

Dr. Willson Carswell, Medical researcher and doctor, Co-discoverer of HIV-AIDS.

Dr. Peter Piot, U/Secretary General UNAIDS.

Her Worship Susan Thompson, former Mayor of Winnipeg, Consul General of Canada.

International Newspaper Articles:

Op-editorials in the New York Times, London Economist, London Financial Times, Toronto Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press and Victoria Beach Herald. See . +300 articles listed.

Victoria Beach Herald

Business in Africa: Building with Bechtel: Nov 13th 1997 | KINSHASA

ON THE table is an astonishingly ambitious proposal. It is a sort of Marshall Plan for Congo, a country three-quarters the size of the European Union, with 47m people (most of them young and poor), $14 billion of debt, less than 100km (62 miles) of decent roads and a ruined economy.

“It’s called putting Humpty Dumpty together again,” says one of the proposal’s architects. What makes the plan so unusual is that it has been drawn up not by the Congolese government or even a multilateral aid agency such as the World Bank, but by Bechtel, a giant American construction company.

Nothing so ambitious has been seen in Africa since the national plans drawn up in the early days of independence. Bechtel’s blueprint for what was once Zaire is supposed “to guide the country’s reconstruction in the short term, help it achieve a market-orientated economy and a quality of life for its citizens commensurate with the resources of the country.”

Those resources are substantial. Just under the surface of Congo’s soil, according to Bechtel, lie mineral ores worth $157 billion, including a hill of high-grade copper ore at Tenke Fungurume which the firm describes as “the finest undeveloped base-metal ore body in the world”.

Yet across the country such deposits are hopelessly under-exploited. Last year Congo produced roughly 30,000 tonnes of copper, compared with over 500,000 tonnes in 1986. Cobalt production is a sixth of what it was a decade ago. No wonder Bechtel and scores of other investors are drooling.

Bechtel’s plan, which was presented to President Laurent Kabila and his government on November 12th, is part of the firm’s pitch for business. It identifies seven sources of wealth in Congo that could be exploited: the copper and cobalt belt in the south-east; diamonds in the south; gold and tin in the east; hydro-electric power on the Congo river; oil in the west; cash crops; and forestry.

Bechtel’s authors suggest that privately financed projects to develop these resources can kick-start the Congolese economy. The plan also wants licences to be sold to thousands of illegal gold and diamond diggers and smugglers so they can ply their trade legally.

There will be a free-trade zone near the Atlantic port of Matadi and a railway to cut the time needed to transport minerals to the coast from several weeks to a few days. Public and private money will pay for roads, railways, hospitals, schools and electrification. As well as helping Congo, the American firm hopes to help itself by winning extra business.

More than engineering is at stake. The plan insists that contracts should be awarded quickly and transparently by teams that include internationally recognised experts on large development projects. In a continent bedevilled by corruption and theft, and in a country that has suffered from a particularly bad case of both, the adoption of such an approach would be of historic significance.

Yet even if Mr Kabila’s government embraces the plan enthusiastically, reform on the scale it recommends is likely to prove a frustrating and lengthy process. Africa has its ways of diverting the grandest designs of outsiders to change it. If the government rejects the plan and sticks to its bad old ways, donors and good foreign investors may turn their backs on the country.

The chances are that Congo’s new government will be polite about Bechtel’s plan, but not formally embrace it. Having been in power since May, Mr Kabila and his colleagues have not yet agreed on their economic priorities. None have been in government before and they are pulling in different directions.

Even if ministers adopt Bechtel’s ideas, they are unlikely to hand control to an American corporation with a weekly turnover equal to their own annual budget. But old habits are hard to shake. While Bechtel’s men were sitting across the table from the government, other foreign businessmen in search of mineral contracts and other opportunities were frantically passing brown envelopes under it. “It’s Africa’s way,” one businessman shrugged. “It’s the way things are done here.” Do they have to be?

(This was after an excellent front page interview I gave to the Economist in London). I was the unnamed Bechtel Man who ran the project in Kinshasa throughout all of 1997. I was up against the corrupt mining executives from China (Rare Earth Minerals), Canada (First Quantum), Perth (Anvil) and Belgium (Gecamines) who bribed their way into getting concessions from Kabila. We refused and pulled out.

“Robert Stewart in Brussels, in May 1998, established the “Conseil de la République Fédérale Démocratique du Congo”. He is “Economic, Industrial, Diplomatic and Financial Counsellor to the Council”, aiming to overthrow President Laurent Kabila.

At the Non-Aligned Movement summit in South Africa in September 1998, Stewart was identified as an advisor to the Council of the Federal Democratic Republic of Congo, a group of exiled Congolese technocrats that sought to restore democracy in their country.

While Stewart claimed at this meeting that President Kabila had “asked American Mineral Fields for bribes”, Stewart left shortly following his appointment. wanting no part of the company for having admitted the truth about their access to these mining claims.

Stewart in 2008 was director of the South African-based TransAfrican Minerals Ltd., which reported copper, cobalt and gold holdings at the Kipushi Project in the DRC, and in 2009, Stewart was on the board of directors of the British Columbia-based junior company, ICS Copper Systems (now Nubian Resources Ltd.) which holds a stake in the Musoshi Tailings Project.”

Robert S. Stewart, former Canadian diplomat, chairman of American Mineral Fields Inc., and senior representative of Bechtel International Inc. in Africa, in 1999 wrote in the Globe and Mail that: “Forty-three Canadian companies—including Banro Resource Corp. of Toronto, Barrick Gold Corp. of Toronto, Tenke Mining Corp. of Vancouver, International Panorama Resource Corp. of Vancouver and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. of Vancouver—have lost more than $15-billion in mining claims in the past year.

Lawsuits abound at courts in Washington, Brussels, Kinshasa and Johannesburg. Congo is the world’s largest producer of diamonds, cobalt and tropical hardwood, and a major producer of gold, tin, copper, coffee and tea. Canadian companies have lost more than $18-billion in exports, imports, construction, investment and trade in Congo. […]

There is a well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize sitting on the table for the first time since Lester Pearson won it in 1957 for the Suez crisis. Canadian peacekeepers have the skills and knowledge gained from Uganda’s Entebbe airport raid, Rwanda and eastern Congo. Canadian companies have invested more than $100-million in the region in the past year. All of this will be lost if the Canadian government sits on its hands, as it did in 1994 and 1996, and lets the wheels of war spin out of control across the African landscape.”[257]

Stewart, Robert S. 1999. “Africa burns, Canada fiddles. Empty words condemning genocide won’t stop the bullets in the largest landmass war in history. Only forthright action stops wars”, The Globe and Mail, Mar 20, 1999. pg. D.4

Stewart’s editorial writings and comments in noteworthy global media can be found on the blog page: . He frequently writes op ed comments in the following newspapers and media channels:

August 21st, 1969

Robert S. Stewart
Office: Koloniepad 5a, Laren, 1251 AH Netherlands
Office: 31 (0)35 538 8005 Tel. Cell: 31 (0)62 831 1701
Quai Jean-Charles Rey 46, Fonteveille, Monte Carlo, MC9800 Monaco
Cell 377 (0)64 062 5125 Home: 377 (0)99 90 0840

The Honourable Christie Clark 14th April, 2016
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Premier of British Columbia

The Honourable Richard Coleman
Deputy Premier
Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing

The Honourable Bill Bennett
Minister of Energy & Mines & Minister Responsible for Core Review

The Honourable John Rustad
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

The Honourable Todd Stone
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

The Honourable Steve Thomson
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Dear Madam and Gentlemen

As a Canadian in good standing of 68 years, I wish to offer my services as a negotiator, intermediary and person charged with assisting the conclusion of all outstanding First Nation Land Claims and Treaties between the BC Government and the First Nations in this Province.

My family and I have contributed substantial investments, expertise, service to provincial and federal governments, the R.C.M.P., the Canadian Army, the creation of numerous assets and trade throughout Canada and in over 50 countries worldwide for five generations. We are immigrant Scots since the mid 1800’s.

This includes the initiation and management of the Toronto Stock Exchange (1852), building of the first University in Western Canada 1867 (St. John’s College Winnipeg), construction and financing of the Canadian Pacific Railway and Hotels (1881-1985, now Fairmont Hotels), several global mining and natural resource companies (Falconbridge, INCO, Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting, Sherritt Gordon Mines), petroleum (Ocelot Energy, Methanex Kitimat, Ocelot International, Cameroun Gas Corporation, Tanzania Gas Corporation), infrastructure engineering and construction companies (Bechtel International Corp.) have been responsible for supplying hundreds of thousands of jobs, some of the largest infrastructure projects in the world, billions of dollars of investments and tax revenues for governments.

My father served in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police during World War II, and was Chief Revenue officer for the Province of Manitoba before he died in 1979. I have been Chairman/CEO of numerous global corporations (1977-2016), served in the Government of Pierre Elliot Trudeau (1970-1977) as a Special Assistant to Ministers of Industry, Trade and Commerce, Director of National Health and Welfare, and as a Foreign Service Officer in the Department of External Affairs).

I spent my youth as a miner in five Northern Canadian gold, copper and base metal mines in Northern Manitoba, as a bush pilot and roustabout discovering some of the largest mineral deposits in Canada. My companies built many of the largest mines, hydro-electric power dams, roads, railways and infrastructure in Canada and worldwide, including aluminium, gold, nickel, copper, diamond, uranium and other precious metal mines and refineries; explored, discovered and built the largest natural gas fields, pipelines and methanol plants in Canada and worldwide.

I offer my services to the Province of British Columbia to assist in the rapid conclusion to all outstanding First Nation Land Claims and Treaty Rights, working with Aboriginal Native Bands, the Province, the Federal Government, communities and investors who wish to develop over $1 Trillion dollars of investments in the future of British Columbia.

I am self-motivated, have no competing interests, require no compensation, simply the mandate to assist in concluding these agreements forthwith. If given this mandate to assist, I will spend the rest of my life helping the Province of British Columbia to conclude rapidly these outstanding Treaties and Agreements left undone before, during and since the promulgation of the Confederation of Canada (1867) and British Columbia’s joining Canada (in 1871).

I attach a list of references, curriculum vitae, speeches and experiences throughout my career which spans five decades. I look forward to working with Provincial Ministers, BC public servants, federal officials, local communities, Chiefs and members of all First Nations in British Columbia. I will serve the Province until all Treaties, Agreements and Land Claims have been concluded satisfactorily with all parties.

Yours sincerely,

Robert S. Stewart

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Putin, Admired by Donald Trump, Emphasizes Strength as Virtue

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President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in southern Siberia in 2009.

He has projected an image of power for himself and Russia.

Putin, Admired by Donald Trump, Emphasizes Strength as Virtue

SEPT. 10, 2016    MOSCOW — Tiger shooter, bare-chested horseman and architect of Russia’s revival as a muscular global power, President Vladimir V. Putin, dressed in a somber suit and tie, sat for over an hour this past week sipping tea from a delicate porcelain cup and offering earnest advice on how to improve housing, medical care and other services in a provincial town south of here.

State television broadcast the entire encounter, in between reports of Russian airstrikes in Syria ordered by Mr. Putin and gleeful accounts of how, thanks to a stunt by a pro-Putin athlete, the Russian flag appeared during the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro despite a ban on the Russian squad because of a doping scandal.

It was, in the span of just a few hours, a dizzying display of the political mastery that Mr. Putin has over his country and his own image — a tough, can-do warrior; caring father of his people; and guarantor that no slight to Russia’s pride will go unanswered.

Mr. Putin, 63, has shown an extraordinary ability to project an image of towering strength no matter what the circumstances. When he first took power, an old schoolteacher of his in St. Petersburg, Vera Malishkina, remembered her former pupil, who is below average height, as a superb basketball player because he was “very tall.”

He has many critics, many of them now in exile outside Russia or voiceless outside the coffee shops and wine bars of cosmopolitan cities like Moscow. But as Donald J. Trump said with admiration: Mr. Putin has “very strong control” over Russia.

According to Mr. Trump, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, “He has been a leader far more than our leader.” The beauty of that is largely in the eye of the beholder, and is certainly lost on Mr. Putin’s Russian opponents.

“Vladimir Putin is a strong leader in the same way that arsenic is a strong drink,” Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion and a fierce critic of the Russian president, said in a Facebook post. “Praising a brutal K.G.B. dictator, especially as preferable to a democratically elected U.S. president, whether you like Obama or hate him, is despicable and dangerous.”

But what, aside from his undeniable skill at rallying the support of the Russian public, has made Mr. Putin such a potent figure, giving him a growing band of admirers like Mr. Trump and any number of right-wing populist leaders scattered across Europe?

Mr. Putin in southern Siberia in 2013.

Mr. Putin has annexed Crimea, stirred up and armed a pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine, turned a once vibrant Russian news media into an echo chamber, and restored Moscow as an indispensable player on the world stage, by turns a peacemaker and troublemaker. His peacemaking was at the fore early on Saturday when Russia and the United States agreed in Geneva to a new plan to curb violence in the Syrian conflict, in which Washington and Moscow back opposite sides but share a desire to destroy the Islamic State.

Judged by many of the yardsticks of success he set before his first presidential race in March 2000, however, Mr. Putin has often faltered.

Out With Oligarchs, in With Cronies

He has cut down to size or driven into exile some of the so-called oligarchs who made billions in murky deals under President Boris N. Yeltsin in the 1990s. But far from eliminating “oligarchs as a class” as he promised, he has created a new class of business moguls who still enjoy sweet insider deals and whose only real difference with those who thrived under Mr. Yeltsin is that they do not dare challenge the Kremlin.

An Economy Running on Fumes

Mr. Putin’s economic record has also been mixed to poor. The economy grew rapidly during his first two terms as president, from 2000 to 2008 — about 8 percent annually, on average, thanks largely to soaring prices for energy, of which Russia is a major exporter. But it developed none of the diversity beyond oil and gas or freedom from corruption that Mr. Putin repeatedly promised.

And with oil prices now below $50 a barrel, half what they were in 2014 and far off their peak of $145 in 2008, the economy is in the doldrums. It perked up slightly in June but has declined over all by nearly 1 percent since the start of the year. That is better than the decline of 3.7 percent last year but still a threat to what had been Mr. Putin’s contract with his people: rising prosperity in return for obedience.

Winning Russian Hearts Abroad

With the economy on the ropes, the Kremlin has turned increasingly to foreign affairs to keep Mr. Putin’s popularity at levels that would delight any Western leader. His ratings soared after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, which unleashed a wave of patriotic fervor across Russia — and caused more economic pain as the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions.

The military interventions in Syria to prop up President Bashar al-Assad have been accompanied by a drumbeat of reports on state television celebrating Russia’s role as a key power without which no military or political knot can be untied. This has reinforced his status at home, but also a deep wariness of his intentions among mainstream political leaders abroad.

He has inserted Russia not only into Syria but also into the even more intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Russian diplomats working frantically to organize a meeting in Moscow between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

“It is important for Putin to drive home the message, especially to the U.S., that Russia is a global power,” said Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Moscow Carnegie Center, a research group, and an expert on Russian foreign policy.

Mr. Putin, he said, was “incensed” in 2014 when President Obama dismissed Russia as a “regional power.” Eager to show that Mr. Obama underestimated Russia’s reach, Mr. Putin has since embarked on a whirlwind of diplomatic activity across the Middle East and in Asia, asserting Moscow’s role far beyond the narrow confines of the former Soviet Union.


Mr. Putin in 2004 with Vyacheslav Fetisov, then the head of the Russian federal sports agency. “You can criticize Russia for anything, but if you belittle Russia, that is a crime,” Mr. Trenin said.

A Muffled News Media

That Russia is now a power to be reckoned with is a message drummed home relentlessly on television. Under President Yeltsin, television had a wide array of state and private channels offering a cacophony of views, but now it is largely state-controlled and entirely on message with the Kremlin.

“We interpret freedom of expression in different ways,” Mr. Putin told three Russian journalists who were writing a book to burnish his image before the 2000 presidential election, when he was a little-known former K.G.B. officer.

One of those journalists, Nataliya Gevorkyan, has since been beaten up twice by unidentified assailants in Moscow, and her old and once freewheeling newspaper, Kommersant, was taken over by a pro-Kremlin businessman. Effectively barred from publishing in Russia, she lives mostly in France.

putin-with-jackfishBut He Has a Seductive Popularity

While never a fan of Mr. Putin — “I was sure a guy who served in the K.G.B. should never be president” — Ms. Gevorkyan granted the Russian president one indisputable asset, one that appalls Moscow intellectuals but enthralls admirers like Mr. Trump: “People elected him.”

“He is popular. Maybe not 86 percent, but definitely more than 50 percent,” she continued. “That is democracy. I really don’t know about democracy anymore.”

Mr. Putin’s ratings are certainly far higher than those of Mr. Obama, and Mr. Putin should easily win the next presidential election in 2018 if he runs. But the authorities are taking no chances. In the latest strike in a sustained campaign to shut down or at least tame alternative sources of information, Russia’s Justice Ministry recently announced that it would place the Levada Center, an independent and highly respected national pollster, on its official register of organizations “operating as foreign agents,” a listing that the center said would cripple its work.

The decision to brand the country’s most reliable polling organization as an alien force followed the release of an opinion survey that showed declining support for Mr. Putin’s United Russia Party ahead of elections for Parliament on Sept. 18.

Mr. Putin’s popularity, said Peter Kreko of the Political Capital Institute, a research group in Budapest, has made him a seductive figure for Western politicians and electors, who often pine for decisive action and a more secure world, free from the uncertainties created by immigration, insecurity and economic globalization.

“All Western politicians that define themselves as out of the mainstream tend to have positive views of Russia and Putin,” he said. “They regard the Putin regime as hyper-efficient, contrary to the hesitant democratic and sometimes incompetent and paralyzed systems in their own countries.”

This efficiency, Mr. Kreko added, is mostly a myth but is widely believed. “We used to think that because of pluralist media, checks and balances, and globalization that people could not be brainwashed,” he said, “but what we see in Russia and also Hungary is that people can be brainwashed.”


Robert S. Stewart is Chairman and CEO of Interop AG and AIC Inc. He frequently gives keynote addresses to the World Economic Forum, World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings. He also writes editorials, op-editorials and articles in the New York Times, The Financial Times of London, The Economist of London, the Toronto Globe and Mail,,  The Winnipeg Free Press and the Victoria Beach herald.

Since 1964, he has worked in the Northern Canadian mining fields, across the USA, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. He has run global petroleum companies, engineering/construction/infrastructure companies, contributed to their planning (created several National Master Plans) committed investment finance and carried out their implementation.

These include mega projects throughout the world undertaken as CEO of Ocelot International,  CEO of TANGAS – Tanzania Gas (Songo Songo Gas-to-Electricity Project, CEO of CAMGAS – Cameroon Gas (Sanaga Sud H-38 Gas Reserve), CEO of Franklin Telecom (the Balkan War), Senior Consultant to the CEO of VALE (Simandou Iron Ore Project), Major Contractor for Lockheed Martin (Hybrid Cargo Aircraft) and major projects undertaken  by Bechtel Corp. (Botswana, East Africa and Congo Master Plans), Falconbridge Nickel Mines (Kilembe Copper/Cobalt Mines Limited, Uganda),  KruppThyssen (Murtalleh Mohammed International Airport), and CDC London (Savannah Sugar Corporation, Kiri Dam, and dozens of other projects throughout the world.

His greatest contributions have been in undertaking work to uncover serious pandemic diseases, financing cures, and distributing these cures to tens of millions of those suffering from HIV/AIDS Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome and ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) better known as “Lou Gehrig’s” Disease, “Dr. Stephen Hawkings” Disease, or the “Ice Bucket Syndrome”.

He is a fully recovered ALS patient who restored his body from total paralysis. He cured himself. The doctors only told him that all they could guarantee would be that he would die in less than two years.

He did not. He lives today, bikes 100 kilometres a week, play golf, polo and just swam 2 kilometres on the Amsterdam City Swim for ALS. None of the money was contributed to his cure. It all went to Big Pharma, and other charities.

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