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

Tahltan 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 said 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

Who is or may be running in Stikine in the provincial election

Cullen nomination sparks controversy over NDP equity policy

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Witset releases COVID-19 strategy following three confirmed cases

Plan implements strict measures to contain spread of the virus

Meet the 10-year-old girl who grew a pineapple in northern B.C.

Emily Atkins discovers it takes a lot of patience to grow tropical fruit in a temperate climate

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Most Read