Hunters and recreationists are being asked to turn around at numerous access roads in Tahltan Territory. (Tahltan Central Government photo)

Northern B.C. First Nation stands behind road access closures to keep hunters, non-locals out

“We’re going to continue to do that for as long as we have to.”

Land guardians in a remote territory more than 1,700 kilometres north of Vancouver not only patrol Tahltan Territory but continue to blockade access points.

The Tahltan Central Government (TCG) held true to their words in stepping up the enforcement of a non-essential travel ban by blocking access to more than a dozen roads over the past few weeks in an effort to keep non-residents out.

TCG president Chad Norman Day believes they had no choice but to block access to the roads and the Stikine River Bridge area commonly used by visitors and hunters on jet boats.

He said despite industrial development occurring within the territory which has greatly contributed to B.C.’s economic growth, medical services and infrastructure remains critically limited.

Read More: B.C. adds another 58 COVID-19 cases, one at Langley hospital

“I wish it was never necessary in the first place, and we certainly gave the province,the BC Wildlife Federation and other stakeholders plenty of notice that our position had always been consistent—that we didn’t want an influx of further visitors to Tahltan Territory and I’m still very disappointed in the response,” Day said.

Hunting and fishing were declared an essential service by the B.C. government in late April —a move that the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) considers ‘great news.’

The BCWF said while they support the request for hunters to stay away from small communities, they believe that hunting can be conducted in a safe manner in remote parts of the province where little or no contact will be made with people outside of the hunters’ immediate group or bubble.

Read More: Tahltan Nation closes hunting and recreational activity access points

“We do not support restrictions for entire “traditional territories,” especially restrictions that specifically target hunters,” stated BCWF wildlife committee chair Gerry Paille in an emailed statement, adding the BCWF has a record of working with First Nations on improving wildlife and habitat for wildlife in Tahltan, Tŝilhqot’in and other First Nations’ traditional territories.

Day estimates the TGC has spent more than $200,000 for better medevac support and ensuring the closure of the access roads which will be monitored by Tahltan guardians and gatekeepers as well as video surveillance.

“Our leadership understands now more than ever that these lack of services and infrastructure and resources put our people at risk, and I think the COVID-19 circumstances have really emphasized some of the structural problems that we’ve had for way too long, and the province’s response to things around the hunting season, the medevac issues, and other problems like the lack of a pharmacy for example — we’re not going to tolerate it anymore,” he said.

Day said he personally and the Tahltan Central Government have been the targets of racist and threatening messages on social media because of the blockades.

The BCWF confirmed they have received some emails and phone calls expressing concerns about the situation in Region 6.

Read More: BCWF: Hunting, fishing listed as essential service during COVID-19 pandemic

“The BC Wildlife Federation does not entertain or condone racist actions and promotes respectful and well-informed dialogue with all,” Paille said.

A spokesperson with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said they ask anyone who is looking to recreate, including hunting and fishing, to do their research before they leave home, respect the wishes of local communities and follow local travel advisories and guidance.

“While hunting was declared an essential service, this in practice refers to hunting locally for food cultivation to support sustenance harvest opportunities,” the spokesperson said.

“Travelling to hunt is considered recreational and therefore is non-essential.”


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

huntingIndigenous

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

 

TCG President Chad Norman Day says it is unfortunate they have had to take matters into their own hands. (Tahltan Central Government photo)

Just Posted

Salmon Arm hockey enthusiasts recognized by regional association

Minor hockey association adds its congratulations to player, coach

Volatile enrolment leads to loss of teaching staff at three North Okanagan-Shuswap schools

Three quarters of students using online learning program expected to return to class

Shuswap 4-H Club members’ projects up for auction

Second-year club member Kayleigh Stockbruegger selling lambs Olaf and Nacho Cheese

Morning Start: One Year on Uranus Is 84 Years on Earth

Your morning start for Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

EDITORIAL: Clearing the smoke

Wildfires have resulted in heavy smoke and poor air quality

Kelowna man’s child porn collection ‘traversed the spectrum of depravity,’ court hears

Terry Krock was caught in possession of between 7,000 and 12,000 child porn files

COVID-19 exposure at Merritt pub

The exposure happened on Sept. 19 at the pub of the Coldwater Hotel

UPDATE: Person safely pulled from Vernon creek culvert

First responders from multiple agencies assist in getting individual out of the creek

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Police watchdog investigating after man injured in Penticton RCMP cells

Man suffers serious injuries after being lodged into cells at the detachment

Four more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 31 active cases in isolation in the health region

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Most Read