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Haida Block Roads, Seize Lumber from Weyerhaeuser

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Issue: 27 Section: Canadian News Geography: West British Columbia, Haida Gwaii Topics: Indigenous, forestry

April 1, 2005

Haida Block Roads, Seize Lumber from Weyerhaeuser

Haida protesters say they have seized an estimated $50 million worth of cut timber from Weyerhaeuser Corp. Around a hundred members of the Haida nation were already blocking roads that access the American corporation's log-sorting yards.

"We hope we can use this money to get hospitals here... and all our schools are in debt because they've been funded like everywhere else in the province," Guujaaw, president of the Council of the Haida Nation, was quoted as saying.

In a communiqué, the demonstrators said that the province of British Columbia has disobeyed a Supreme Court order that requires the Haida nation to be consulted on resource use, pending claims of Aboriginal title over the land in question, and it has given "almost all regulatory authority over to the forest industry." They also say that the provincial government has ignored their local land use planning process, "issuing cutting permits in areas that are needed for purposes other than logging."

"Weyerhaeuser was going in and grabbing whatever they could on their way out the door," Guujaaw was quoted as saying. "We had a contract with them and they broke it."

According to archaelogical evidence, the Haida have inhabited Haida Gwaii (sometimes called the Queen Charlotte Islands) for at least 5,000 years; they claim 10,000 years of history there. The Haida say that their culture and way of life are intrinsically tied to the islands.

"You cannot buy the lifestyle we have with money," Guujaaw has said.

Weyerhaeuser, which is currently transferring its harvesting rights of 3.6 million cubic metres of public land timber to the multinational conglomerate Brascan. Based in Federal Way, Washington, Weyerhaeuser has 55,000 employees in 18 countries and controls 30.5 million acres of Canadian forest. The company's website mentions its "high ethical standards, a century of leadership and team-oriented culture." Weyerhaeuser had USD $19.8 billion in revenues in 2003, almost double the company's take ten years ago.

Toronto-based Brascan had net revenues of $688 million in 2004. Brascan's stock fell 74 cents on the day of the Haida seizure.

» The Dominion: The Struggle for Haida Gwaii

» CBC Vancouver: Haida set up blockades on Queen Charlottes

» CBC Vancouver: Haida protests escalate

» Gwaii Sgaanawaay Siigaa Iijaa: Why is this action taking place?

» CBC Vancouver: Brascan and Weyerhaeuser in $1.2B deal

» Weyerhaeuser Corp.

» Brascan Corp.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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