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

South Okanagan businesses surveyed on impact of COVID-19 during summer

Hospitality businesses are being asked to fill out a questionnaire

RCMP seeking witnesses to fatal Peachland motorcycle crash on Highway 97

One person died following a motorcycle crash south of Peachland on Sunday afternoon

Out of character for Okanagan woman to go missing

Karee Lynn Kamis, 64, was last seen in Penticton on Sept. 18

Penticton officer hit by stolen Kelowna car that was later torched

RCMP are asking for the public’s help in a crime spree that spans from Kelowna to Osoyoos

Mystery solved on who put up Mount Kobau blockade

Land owner says trespassing with quads and motorcycles threatens wildlife and old growth trees

No safe mask option for bearded members, RCMP says, but force is exploring solutions

RCMP says respirator not mandatory in all front-line situations, but sometimes needed to reduce risk

More victims possible in Okanagan assault case

Vernon police have a man in custody but feel there could be more victims in the case

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Known Kelowna Hells Angels associate to face trial in October

Colin Michael Bayley is set to stand trial next month for an alleged aggravated assault

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Fifth case connected to Kelowna church outbreak announced

Interior Health announced the additional case on Sunday, Sept. 27

Okanagan community lifts up Indigenous food truck dream

BannockSlap Burgers and Indian Tacos opened for business on Labour Day weekend

UBC Okanagan creativity on display at art gallery

Experimental sculptural installation and prints by students

Most Read