rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Haida hereditary chiefs say luxury fishing lodge on Haida Gwaii puts profit before life

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $1 per month!

Image shows fishermen spotted by G̲aandlee Guu Jaalang, "Daughters of the Rivers," who are the Haida women who have responsibility to protect Haida Gwaii. Image: G̲aandlee Guu Jaalang/Screenshot of Facebook video

X̱aaydag̱a Gwaay.yaay (Haida Gwaii) is an archipelago of 200 islands that includes Kiis Gwaay (Graham Island) and T’aawxii X̱aaydaɢ̠a Gwaay.yaay linaɢ̠waay (Moresby Island) in what was formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

It is situated about 100 kilometres west of the northern coast of British Columbia.

Haida people have lived on the islands for thousands of years and exercise their sovereignty over the islands and its surrounding waters through the X̱aaydaG̱a Waadlux̱an Naay (the Council of the Haida Nation).

The Haida Nation has explained: "Our pre-contact population was in the tens of thousands in several dozen towns dispersed throughout the islands. During the time of contact our population fell to about 600, this was due to introduced disease including measles, typhoid and smallpox."

Presently, Haida people make up half of the 5,000 people living on Haida Gwaii.

The most recent Haida Gwaii state of emergency communication notes: "Non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii is not permitted at this time."

On July 10, despite the objections of the Council of the Haida Nation, the Queen Charlotte Lodge, a 20-acre luxury fishing resort on Haida Gwaii, reopened.

On July 20, CBC News reported: "Tensions have been rising on Haida Gwaii since the luxury fishing lodge, which is on the northernmost island of the archipelago, reopened despite a state of emergency in the Haida Nation because of COVID-19."

This follows a group of Haida matriarchs, the Gaandlee Guu Jaalang (Daughters of the Rivers), posting this video on Facebook of five vessels from the lodge passing close to Haida boats fishing in the waters and a tense verbal exchange.

On July 21, the Haida Hereditary Chiefs Council stated:

"Since its arrival, Queen Charlotte Lodge has treated this precious part of our homeland as little more than a playground for those who make money spoiling the Earth. In their lust for profit, QCL has expanded far beyond acceptable limits, trespassing with breakwater and mooring overreach in Needan Gawee Naden Harbour, and now, they choose profit over life."

The hereditary chiefs conclude: "If Queen Charlotte Lodge had ever been welcomed, it has lost its welcome on Haida Gwaii."

In solidarity with the Haida Nation, member of Parliament Leah Gazan tweeted:

"It is not ok to support human rights when it suits your economic & political agenda & then stay silent when it doesn't! Human rights should never be up for debate. We must all stay vigilant to uphold & respect #HumanRights for all, at all times! #HumanRightsNow #HaidaGwaii"

The United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, José Francisco Calí Tzay, a Maya Kaqchikel from Guatemala, stated: "Now, more than ever, governments worldwide should support Indigenous peoples to implement their own plans to protect their communities and participate in the elaboration of nationwide initiatives to ensure these do not discriminate against them."

Brent Patterson is the executive director of Peace Brigades International-Canada. This article originally appeared on the PBI-Canada website. Follow @PBIcanada and @CBrentPatterson on Twitter.

Image: G̲aandlee Guu Jaalang/Screenshot of Facebook video

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.