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British Columbia

In B.C. 97% of the land is unceded sovereign native lands. Within these areas are vast wildlands inhabited by Grizzly bear, and timber wolves that have been long extirpated from the temperate rainforests to the south. Many First Nation peoples are resisting exploitation of their traditional territories and wildlands. The resistance is growing by much mjore help is needed. They are looking for those with new ideas as well as experience in forest campaigns, direct action camps and tree villages. Local activists and Native people's do not all agree with conclusions drawn by mainstream non-profits, and that the fight to preserve native sovereign lands is not at all won in B.C.

INDIGENOUS STRUGGLE: In British Columbia, despite strong objections by some people and elders of the Cheam Nation, there is a "five year plan" put out by the Ministry of Forests, which threatens to destroy the ecological integrity of the Elk Creek Rainforest. Logging in Cheam Nation sacred lands, and the development of a ski resort are part of this plan. In September 2003, despite strong objections of some within the Cheam Nation, the Cattermole Timber Co. began felling in one old-growth cut-block in Elk Creek - home to Western Red Cedars and 300 foot tall Douglas firs that are many centuries old.

On the ridge directly above these cut-blocks, and on the surrounding peaks, Resorts West is planning to develop a massive elite ski resort. The plans, if completed, will bring 20 ski lifts on 8 peaks, three resort villages, a golf course, retirement community, condos, and over 400,000 people each year to this area. These developments will displace Cheam Nation traditional activities, dominate their sacred mountains, ruin their berry patches and hunting grounds, and compromise their ability to achieve the goal in a 50-year long struggle to reach a settlement that recognizes the rights of the Cheam Nation to hold aboriginal title to their land.

September 19, 2003, 4 days after logging started on Cheam, June Quipp, elder and former Chief of the Cheam Nation, announced that: "Logging in Elk Mountain has already started without our consent and has been going on for approximately four days. We, some of the people and Elders of Cheam, have been voicing concerns over the development of a ski resort and logging within the Pilalt Territory. These concerns have fallen on deaf ears. We cannot sit back any longer and let all of the proposed development plans to proceed.

October 2 2003 June Quipp made a call to CN to inform them that as of 5PM there would be no more trains disturbing the peace on Cheam Nation, following thrugh with her threat to put a stop to the destruction of the Pilalt Territory outside Agassiz, B.C. Although Quipp stands up alone, without the financial or familial support of her band, taking the brunt of her restraining order from blockading the tracks, several neighbouring chiefs have come and shown their support.

Signs adorned the blockade reading, "Deaf Gov't", "No Ski Resort", "End Colonialism", and "Save the Mountains". Children as young as four years old have displayed their displeasures with the trains that they have constantly heard roaring through their yards, as well as the fact that they do no wish to see their mountains lit up with ski resort lights.

October 31, 2003, there was a Direct Action at Cattermole Timber Head Office

Help is Needed! Go to the ElkCreekAction.org website for some suggestions of ways you can help:

For more information:

There is a live streaming radio show called Green Monkey Radio in Vancouver that had back-to-back specials last month: 'Live From 110 Up a Cedar' and the 'Maximum Security Special.' To hear this radio show, go to: http://www.geocities.com/greenmonkeyradio The show is now available World-Wide via Webstreaming! Go to http://www.coopradio.org and click on "Listen Online" for streaming locations.

Some of the current grassroots enviro groups that are in the BC area of Cascadia which support and take place in direct action and civil disobedience are...

Elaho Earth First! - earth_first@ziplip.com

Forest Action Network (FAN) (Main chapter) - www.fanweb.org
This group works with Nuxalk First Nations on Great Bear Rainforest and Fish Farm issues

Forest Action Network (FAN) - Vancouver Island Chapter
This group works on issues affecting the Walbran Valley ecosystem

Friends of Clayoquot Sound -- www.ancientrainforest.org
This group works to protect Clayoquot Sound, and many people remember this group for their role in organizing the historic mass Clayoquot Arrests (900 people arrested in Clayoquot Sound in 1993)

Women in The Woods (direct action campaign)-- http://www3.telus.net/Womeninthewoods/intro.htm This group stopped logging in June in the Walbran Valley, and one activist has served jail time, while another awaits final sentencing. Also 4 indigenous activists were arrested for blocking Weyerhauser's logging activities in the Walbran.

The Walbran Valley (forest monitoring group)-- www.walbran.com/
kitta@home.com

BC Pathways (south Vancouver Island forest preservation) www.geocities.com/bc_pathways/intro.html
bcpathways@hotmail.com
(250) 361-1876

The websites these groups maintain can give you background on the struggles in each area.

Last updated: Jun 7 '04