Land Infringement at Talyu

Right: The Nuxalk owned gill netter "Mokum." Talyu is 23 miles from Bella Coola and is accessible only by water. Local fishing boats and traditional canoes were used to transport participants to Talyu for the totem pole raising in 2009. The beautiful turquoise blue of the water is a hallmark of the deeply glaciated ocean fjords of our Territory. Before white settlement and industrial fisheries, these waters were abundant with fish.

In August 2009, Nuxalkmc gathered at Talyu to celebrate: Snuxyaltwa Totem Pole Raising

Left: The ancestral Homeland of the Talyuumc People is at Talyu, where the Taleomy River and Noeick River join South Bentinck Arm at Taleomy Narrows. The Snow (Snuxyaltwa) Family was the last family to be forcibly evicted from Talyu by the government of Canada in the 1960s. Not long afterwards, loggers torched our ancient village at Talyu. As a result we found it increasingly difficult to return to our ancestral home on South Bentinck.

Interfor (alias A&A Trading Ltd.) Continues Its Pillage

Left: This old photo shows the Raven House of Chief Hemasin in the ancient Nuxalk village of Talyu in 1913. The entrance pole was carved from a monumental cedar tree by Skyuswalus (of the Snuxyaltwa Family).

The figures on the Raven Totem Pole depict creatures involved in our Nuxalkmc family histories. Most powerful is Raven with its long beak. A secondary figure is Beaver, whose face and big incisor teeth, appears above Raven. Beaver's body and tail are carved in the centre of the pole, below Raven's beak. Eagles appear on either side of Beaver.

The English museum ethnologist Charles Newcombe robbed us of our heritage when he took our Raven Totem Pole to Victoria in 1913. Left (below): Here it was displayed in Thunderbird Park as a tourist attraction, fronting a house with a non Nuxalk native design.

The Raven Totem Pole remains in Victoria today, admired by people from all over the world. Other totem poles from Talyu were taken from us and put on display at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Despite the wide spread international recognition of our exceptionally rich Nuxalk heritage, the ancient cedar trees we need to carry on our carving traditions continue to be exterminated everywhere in Nuxalk Territory, against the wishes of the Hereditary Chiefs. Interfor and other logging companies continue to clearcut our forests for commercial profit, killing off our cultural heritage.

Statement by Snuxyaltwa (30 November 2009)

Reoccupation of Talyu – Taleomey Narrows

Above: Nuxalkmc youth on a traditional canoe journey to Talyu for the raising of the Snuxyaltwa Totem Pole, 18 August 2009. Right: Boyhood dream of becoming a Nuxalkmc warrior

The phoney 2009 "Land Claim" issued by the government at Taleomey Narrows is illegal. Such dispositions of crown land can no longer take place without the consent of the Indigenous inhabitants and owners of the land: in this case the Nuxalk People. Manipulation of band council members to procure logging rights is a colonial device used to keep us oppressed and in poverty. Nothing has changed since our stand at ISTA in 1995 except for the names of the logging corps that are served by corrupt government authorities.

Right: Traditional Nuxalk canoes arrive at Talyu, the remote village site of the Talyuumc People. From Bella Coola, the journey was a strenuous six hour paddle down South Bentinck Arm to Taleomey Narrows where there was a convergence of hundreds of Nuxalkmc and their guests. Some of them came from far off places, including Europe, to take part in the totem pole raising celebration.

Left: Chief Snuxyaltwa welcomes the canoes to Talyu, many of them paddled by Nuxalkmc youth. Except for the Talyu Hot Springs Valley, most of the old growth forests of South Bentinck Arm have been logged. Huge clearcuts are seen above, on the steep mountainside in the distance. As Taleomey Narrows is too remote to have logging roads, these clearcuts were done with helicopters which carried the big timber to the Arm for log boom transport to BC ports and foreign export. This is contested Nuxalk Land and the government has no business giving licenses for commercial logging here. Nuxalk Hereditary Chiefs believe that this boldness is the result of collaboration between Greenpeace and the logging industry. The Nuxalk House of Smayusta boycotted the negotiation table for the so called Great Bear Rainforest on the grounds that no environmental group could claim to represent an Indigenous People.

Statement by Chief Snuxyaltwa – 24 April 2009

Above: Grizzly Bear House Post at Talyu. The post belonged to the wife
of a Nuxalk Chief, Mrs. Tallio Hans. Collector Harlan Smith robbed us of our heritage when in 1923 he took this house post for the Victoria Memorial Museum – now called the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The photo is
a view from the south taken on 19 August 1920 by Smith. He observed that it was the post from the northeastern front corner of the most northeasterly house in Talyu.

Above: Mortuary figure from the old village of Talyu. We were robbed of our heritage when this figure was taken from our Talyuumc Land for the BC Provincial Museum in 1913 by collector Charles Newcombe together with a second mortuary figure.

Today I attended a meeting set up by the BC government and logging industry to announce their two year helicopter logging and dump site plan for Taleomey Narrows at Talyu (South Bentinck).

They called it a "prep" for a consultation meeting. Four Hereditary Nuxalk Chiefs, including myself, and five Nuxalk Council members were present along with industry and government representatives: two from
the BC Ministry of Forests and three from A&A Trading Ltd.

This is the third time that I have asked a logging company to stop logging at Talyu (South Bentinck). Several years ago Nuxalk – Talyu Elder Robert Andy and I went back to our Homeland. We found that Interfor was logging the flats at Taleomey Narrows. This is the location of my Family's land and the Snuxyaltwa Farm.

Neither the Nuxalk House of Smayusta Chiefs nor the Nuxalk People were informed of this logging operation by Interfor. At the time, Interfor stopped their operation.

Not once has the company talked with me or any of the Hereditary Chiefs. Instead Interfor used their illegal operation as a negotiation tool to start talking about Forest and Range Agreements and Community Forest Licenses.

A&A Trading Ltd. have since bought Interfor's logging licences. Last year, with the Nuxalk Chief Council present, I asked A&A Trading Ltd. to stop logging. Once again they stopped their logging for a short period of time only.

I have repeatedly asked for respect for the Nuxalk Hereditary Chiefs, as well as for the wildlife, the bears, deer, ducks, halibut, ooligan, salmon, crabs and all living creatures that survive at Talemoney Narrows.

Our land has been overlogged and needs healing time. I have requested that all logging operations be shut down on our Nuxalk Land because many of our brothers and sisters are dying out. Other Nuxalk Hereditary Chiefs support me:

Unity Statement by Chiefs

But the helicopter logging and log dump site negotiations at Taleomey Narrows have started again. . .

I gave the BC Ministry of Forests and A&A Trading Ltd. an invitation to the Snuxyaltwa Totem Pole Raising and Potlatch where Hereditary Chiefs spoke about Talyu. The BC Ministry of Forests and Interfor alias A&A Trading Ltd must learn about Nuxalk Ways, about how everything to do with our Land and Territories is done within a Potlatch System of Government.

Above: Talyu Pole. This house pole from the Nuxalk village of Talyu is displayed in the Grand Hall at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

The 25 ft high pole was carved as the entrance to a Nuxalk long house. Later it was made into a grave monument and the disc on top (now missing) was added to represent the Sun. Below the Sun are the mythical Cannibal Bird, Beaver and a Supernatural Being.

The Talyu house pole was taken from our Land in 1923 by Harlan Smith for the Victoria Memorial Museum in Ottawa.

Human Rights Abuse at Talyu

The government sponsored abuse at Talyu must be condemned. The Nuxalk People are recognized as a sovereign Nation due to the efforts of the House of Smayusta, as outlined in a 2005 report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

The world must be informed of how logging and other resource industries continue to destroy our Homelands and our Indigenous Way of Life. We ask that those who are concerned about the Land Infringement at Talyu write a response for the Nuxalk People, for Mother Earth and for all living creatures.

Please send your letter to the prime minister of Canada and to the premier of British Columbia with copies to the Nuxalk House of Smayusta and Nuxalk Nation Band Council.

Illegal Land Grab by the BC Government:
Incrimindating Evidence in the Local Press

Left: "LAND ACT: Notice of Intention to Apply for a Disposition of Crown Land." Click left image for pdf.

"Take notice that A&A Trading Ltd. of Vancouver intends to make application to the Integrated Land Management Bureau (ILMB), BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Coast Region office for a Temporary Permit for Industrial Log Handling at South Bentinck Arm in the vicinity of Taleomey Narrows."

Lands File No. for the Log Dump Sites Permit #1413286. Deadline for comments: 27 April 2009

Above: Application for "Log Dump Sites" at South Bentinck Arm and Taleomey River (Talyu). Click above image for pdf.

Send comments to Section Head:
Integrated Land Management Bureau
BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Coast Region
142-2080 Labieux Rd.
Nanaimo BC V9T 6J9


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