A recently announced agreement between the Maa-nulth First Nations and the Government of Canada includes Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (in which Long Beach resides). All of the west coast, and Long Beach, of course, has been home to the Nuu-chah-nulth people for millennia. With colonization things changed in a big way, but I’m encouraged to see how in just a few decades the ways in which national parks relates to First Nations have changed so much.
When Pacific Rim National Park was formed in the early 1970s, the vision of the day was to preserve wild places without people in them. This included First Nations. Several communities were asked to relocate outside the newly formed park boundaries. This did not happen, which is why there are still “IRs” (Indian Reserves) within the park boundaries, at Long Beach, in the Broken Group Islands and along the West Coast Trail. Maa-nulth moves us to a new reality where First Nations and the federal government are examining models of cooperative planning and management.
From the newspaper, Haa-shilth-sa:
On Jan. 30, following months of dialogue and consultation, four Maa-nulth First Nations (Uchucklesaht Tribe, Huu-ay-aht, Toquaht and Yuu-thlu-ilth-ath)signed an agreement with Parks Canada to work cooperatively in the planning and management of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, as required by the Maa-nulth treaty.
The agreement sets a foundation for Parks Canada and the four Maa-nulth Nations of Barkley Sound to work together on matters of mutual interest.
Sustainable economic and community development through cooperative management of natural and cultural resources with the Maa-nulth area of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve will help develop social and economic tools that will directly support Maa-nulth families, communities and Parks Canada.