Phoney Great Bear Rainforest Deal

Interfor's Destruction of Nuxalknalus (King Island),
the So–called "Great Bear Rainforest" in 2008

These photos were taken on 23 October 2006 by Ian McAllister. They show Interfor's clearcut destruction of the old growth temperate rainforest. Right: For scale, note the person in the middle of the clearcut. The huge stump is all that remains of an ancient cedar tree, sacred to the Nuxalkmc. Despite their importance to our culture, cedars are highgraded by the logging industry and are being exterminated. I understand why forest activists are frustrated about the ongoing logging in the so – called "Great Bear Rainforest." For me it is more concern and worry. There should be more support for the forests, and the life in and around it. The animal life, marine life, and bird life; the environment and its integrity.

Then, there is support needed for sovereign First Nations who believe in saving these things. Logging practices and forest management policies have not changed. I believe the so called "Ecologically Based Management" and "Great Bear Rainforest" Agreements were only to buy some time for the industry and wait for the resistance to the clearcut logging to stop. Of course neither of these phoney deals save the forests: they are a farce because logging continues as before.

Through the BC Treaty and other agreements many First Nations are giving in to the logging industry. When they are bound to such processes, First Nations can't badmouth logging practices; timber markets; logging companies; or the official agreements. The process on the table is a legal contract with an official gag order.

First Nations who are caught up in these processes have essentially relinquished their sovereignty and historical status as a First Nation. They become bound by legal and contractual routes whereby they try to get as much as possible, financially and economically. What they possessed becomes a social and economic bargaining chip: part of a "business" arrangement. The ancestral and historical connections to their Lands and Rights are lost and a new definition or term must be adopted.

Left: Interfor clearcut logging operation on King Island, 23 October 2008. For scale, note the person in blue. Click to enlarge. These are Nuxalk ancient cedars: stolen from our land: the wrecking of our culture.

Sovereign powers to protect Indigenous Lands and Rights are confined and become a matter only of "business" such as logging or mining. Within these restrictions, First Nations must then negotiate jobs, monies, or a status with the companies. Many get caught in the pitfall of a joint venture status. Government and industry use contrived figures to show how many First Nations are involved in this corrupt process, just as they do with the number of grizzly bears that are killed during the annual trophy hunts. It is left up to the public or individuals to figure out the real figures.

A lot of the contrived information is used as public relations or propaganda to serve the status quo – also to show how much they are doing to keep the Indian happy and well. Although greed and corruption may drive some First Nations to ignore their responsibilities to the lands, not all Indian citizens and leaders are susceptible.

It is disappointing that big environmental groups go against their word and say negative things about First Nations. I don't believe that this representation is good for their campaigns as environmental groups nor is it good that they are signatories to the disreputable Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. Of course, many First Nations are being bought off through their leaderships and accept the corruption. Historically this has been bred by the Canadian government's bureaucracy, the "Department of Indian Affairs," where Indian leaderships learn what is needed to advance their communities.

Discretion is used to determine which direction is the "correct" one and not surprisingly, the batting average is not good. Corruption is difficult to pin down and prove but it can be seen, read between the lines, and determined by lucrative or surprise deals. . . . this would be an awesome project for an Indian detective. These sorts of corruptive tradeoffs and deals are also used on the environmental community, for example in the case of the so called Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. These are parallel tactics to those used historically against the First Nations.

Today, while Canada and BC are stumbling through their own legal systems, it is likely that their lies and untruths will eventually catch up with them. It can only last so long. But meanwhile officials are able to railroad through many lucrative development and resource extraction projects before they can be stopped or contested by First Nations.

Much attention and publicity is given to First Nations who are co–opting by accommodating and complying with government and industry. It is similar to a reward system or a promotion that gives the impression, i.e. the "illusion," of compliance so that unjust tactics and lucrative deals are easier to make with First Nations. Ever since the BC treaty process was contrived, it seems that this kind of negotiated tradeoffs have been made with certain Indian leaders.

A large book could be written exclusively about these kind activities. The phoney Great Bear Rainforest deal is yet another example. Like most of Indian history; it is hidden or concealed so that the general public is not aware of it.


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