THUNDER BAY – There is trouble brewing on the Sunshine Coast. A group of concerned Sechelt Elders asked a small group of Volunteers (the Peace tribe) to help stop unlawful logging in Sechelt Territory. Stopping the logging went on for almost two weeks when the peace tribe was served with a Court injunction to stop, otherwise they would face arrest.
Barb Higgins [Xwu’p’a’lich,], the Sechelt Elder working directly on this matter has issued a Press Release answering a newspaper notice “to log” by the Sechelt Community Forest and their serving of the Court Injunction to the people acting on their behalf.
In response to Sechelt’s Community Forest’s recent newspaper announcement, Sechelt Elder and a direct descendent of Hereditary Chief Dan Paull, Barb Higgins, says that, she and other Sechelt Elders are in the process of enacting their title to the land.
The Sechelt Elder is fed up with what she says is “The B.C. Government’s ‘Log everything until it’s gone’ approach to Resource Management in British Columbia”. Higgins states that she is going to “Stop it in Sechelt Territory and Elphinstone Mountain is the first target”.
The Sechelt Elder, whose Native name is Xwu’p’a’lich, says, “The Sechelt Community Forest is just a cover for another logging company with a fancy title and neither they nor anyone else are going to be allowed to do any further Logging or Commercial activity on Elphinstone. I consider the Community Forest’s recent announcement in the newspaper as nothing more than the same old logging company whitewash we have all seen and heard so many times in the past. What the Sechelt Community Forest people are really saying is they will keep logging until every tree on Elphinstone is gone and we are not going to stand for that any longer”.
“The land they have as their Forest Tenure is the territory of the Sechelt People, and we have never ceded our Territory to anyone. The Province of British Columbia has been involved in unlawful logging on our territory since they formed their first Colonial Government 154 years ago, and have adamantly refused to stand down and cease this unlawful activity. They have continuously violated the Royal Proclamation of 1763, and section 35.1 of the Canadian Constitution. There is absolutely no Treaty with this rogue provincial government, and never has been, and they just keep logging as if we don’t exist”.
On September 22, Penny Singh and the Peace Tribe, who are directly assisting the Sechelt Elders in stopping the logging, were given permission to be on Sechelt Homelands in a traditional Shishalh Governance Ceremony enacting the title and rights of the Original People to their land. Penny Singh is Chairperson of the Earth Summit Council which protects the rights of Mother Earth under the authority of Sechelt Hereditary Chief Barb Higgins.
The 79 year old Shishalh Elder says, “I am going to put a house right on their Landing where they are logging and I will stand in their way myself until they leave. If the Sechelt Community Forest Board of Directors and that Provincial Court Judge in Vernon, want to know what I think of the Injunctions they issued to enforce their unlawful activity, then they will find it hanging in my outhouse on their logging landing being productively used at the most appropriate time… and if they don’t believe me, I will mail them the proof if they want it”.
“They have been raping and pillaging our lands, forests, and fisheries for 154 years, and the Shishalh tl’extl’ax-min [Sechelt Elders] and the mothers, fathers, grandparents, and young people of all ethnic groups, who will stand with us, are going to put an end to this criminal activity once and for all”.
“We are stopping the logging and other commercial activity not to break the law, but, to enforce the law. Either Canada abides by its own laws or it doesn’t”, said the Sechelt Elder.