40,000 hectares of Kwikwasuti’nuxw Haxwa’mis ancestral land have been declared an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA). Hereditary chiefs of the Kwikwasuti’nuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation (KHFN) gathered in Sooke for the historic move to safeguard the region’s rich natural resources, cultural sites, and economic sustainability.
While the BC government was not involved in the IPCA process, BC Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship Nathan Cullen has since expressed his support for the IPCA.
The Kwikwasuti’nuxw Haxwa’mis have long been vocal about the importance of resource protection in their territories, with a focus on Pacific salmon. Salmon in the region were fast disappearing due to unchecked overfishing practices by corporations. Efforts to enlist support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada were fruitless.
The KHFN had also joined forces with other Broughton Islands First Nations to remove Atlantic salmon fish farms from their territories. This new IPCA, as well as the fish farm bans, demonstrates how Indigenous communities are taking charge of their lands and resources and driving proactive change, which is their right under ancestral law.
On the benefits of the IPCA, Hereditary Chief Dr. Robert Joseph said: “Natural resources will be better protected, food security will be advanced, Indigenous employment will increase, and the economy will stabilize.”
Learn more about the IPCA in this article from The Skeena.