The Tlowitsis First Nation traditionally had a relationship to the environment which revolved around the resources of the waters throughout our territory which was used as a means of travel, as well as a rich and abundant source of food that was used both for sustenance and cultural purposes. The Tlowitsis First Nation historically had absolute power over our traditional territory, our resources and our right to govern and manage our lands and resources. Today we affirm our aboriginal rights and title to our unceded and sovereign Territory and continue to maintain these rights through stewardship, economic, cultural and spiritual activities.
The village of Karlukwees, located on Turnour Island was the primary residential community of the Tlowitsis First Nation during the early 20thcentury. However, in the early 1960’s the government introduced a series of policies aimed at deliberately relocating geographically remote, island-dwelling First Nation communities, and as a result the members of the Tlowitsis First Nation were forced to emigrate and disperse from their community. We have not had a residential community since that time.
Our Council’s current goal is the acquisition and development of community lands just outside of Campbell River, which is a fundamental priority in re-establishing a viable, healthy and sustainable community. To achieve these goals it is necessary to not only develop a strong economic strategy but to ensure that our territory is managed responsibly by having eyes and ears in our territory through the establishment of our Guardian Watchmen Program. The Guardian Watchmen Program not only provides opportunity for our members to obtain meaningful employment and training but allows our Nation to continue our ancestral stewardship responsibility for our territory.
The Tlowitsis Nation’s partnership with Grieg Seafood is also integral to the Nation’s economic well-being. Not only does it employ our members but Grieg Seafood has been supportive in many aspects of the Tlowitsis’ community. This partnership is vital to the Tlowitsis being able to be economically sustainable, especially as the reality of the new community is on the horizon. Like many First Nations in BC the Tlowitsis are eager to develop a long lasting economy from our Traditional Territory. Clio Channel is a cornerstone for our Nation and it was after careful consideration, we developed an economic partnership with Grieg Seafood.
It is our opinion that protesters in our Traditional Territory could impact not only our members who work in the area but others who have or consent to make their livelihood in our Traditional Territory.
Council would ask that any visitors in our Traditional Territory, and in particular Clio Channel seek permission to enter any of our reserves, leaseholds our partners’ properties. We would request that any protestors stand down. The Sea Shepherd Operation Virus Hunter group are not welcome in our Territory.
We use the Kwak’wala word “A'ikila” to describe how we use, care and live in our Territory. We have been taught by our ancestors to respect our Territory, be mindful, and do things in a good way. This is our wish for all who enter our Territory.
Chief John M. Smith Tlowitsis Nation