Logging on Graham Island. (Archie Stocker Sr. / Haida Gwaii Observer)

Logging moves forward as court rules against Haida Gwaii protesters

Injunction won against activists seeking to protect culturally and archaeologically significant site

A logging company on Haida Gwaii now has the green light to cut down trees in a forest of cultural importance for the Haida Nation.

O’Brien and Fuerst Logging won an injunction in court against Haida Gwaii protesters who had been trying to halt cutting activity in the Tlaga Gaawtlaas Blue Jackets area near Masset.

The decision came down at B.C. Supreme Court Thursday morning under the direction of Justice Ronald A. Skolrood, and is seen as a blow to activists, who had set up a blockade to prevent access to the site.

“The logging of the Bluejacket area would be a blatant act of disrespect and disregard of Haida title, sovereignty and jurisdiction, as well as a violation of provincial legislation,” Gaagwiis Jason Alsop, president of the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN), said.

The area contains a large supply of cedar trees, an invaluable resource for Haida carvers who use the wood for carvings and other art work.

Haida artist Robert Davidson, who carved the first totem pole to be raised in more than 100 years in 1969 from a tree found in the area, had filed an affidavit — a written statement confirmed by oath which is used for evidence — in B.C. Supreme Court hoping to stop the cutting.

The Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) had also applied for a Stop Work Order with the Archaeology Branch of B.C., on the grounds that there are recognized heritage and archaeological sites in the vicinity.

The request was denied however.

READ MORE: Haida artist and protesters fight to protect cedar forest in Masset, court decision looms

The logging contract for the Blue Jackets area was award by B.C. Timber Sales (BCTS), a provincial government agency that controls approximately 20 per cent of the province’s yearly allowable cut of Crown timber.

“This is completely disrespectful of our decision made in 2016,” Ginn wadluu un uula isdaa ayaagang Trevor Russ, vice-president of the CHN, stated.

Ginn wadluu un uula isdaa ayaagang is referencing a decision made by the province to allow logging at Blue Jackets despite the CHN not giving their approval.

“Now we’re in equal disbelief that they’ll support the logging of a rich archaeological site in the middle of this block, neglecting their own rules despite the data we’ve brought forward,” he stated.

READ MORE: Logging protest at Collison Point

BCTS’ mandate states that they “support government’s commitment to true, lasting reconciliation with First Nations in B.C.,” however the current dispute has them at odds with the local First Nations government.

“There is valuable archaeological history within this cut block that was ignored by BCTS,” Gaagwiis stated. “This, along with other oversights that we have discovered really call into question the competency and necessity of BCTS operating on Haida Gwaii.”

In addition to the concerns over the loss of culturally significant forest area, the logging site is also slated to be established only a few hundred metres from the New Town reserve. This was addressed by Old Massett’s village chief councilor Donald “Duffy” Edgars.

“Our people have made it very clear: they do not want logging activity this close to our community,” Edgars stated. “This logging will have so many impacts and risks for community members and the CHN has not approved of logging activity in this area. I stand with my people who are looking out for the best interest of our community.”


Alex Kurial | Journalist
Alex Kurial 
Send Alex email
Like the Haida Gwaii Observer on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

MassetOld Massett

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Keep a lookout for monsters around Kitimat during the week leading up to Halloween. (Black Press file photo)
Lions and tigers and…monsters? Oh my!

Find monsters hiding around town during the week leading up to Halloween to be entered for a prize

Liz Thorne is president of the Snow Valley Ski Club, and has been involved with the club and cross country skiing for over 30 years. (Clare Rayment)
In Our Valley: Liz Thorne

Thorne has been involved with the Snow Valley Ski Club for over 30 years

The car was trapped, with its driver inside, in a ditch off Hirsch Creek Main near Onion Lake overnight Monday (Oct. 19). Oct. 20, 2020. Kitimat RCMP photo.
Man found after spending overnight stuck in car in a ditch near Onion Lake

Kitimat RCMP said the man was stuck there overnight for about 10 hours

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

Most Read