Hunters and recreationists are being asked to turn around at numerous access roads in Tahltan Territory. (Tahltan Central Government photo)

Hunters and recreationists are being asked to turn around at numerous access roads in Tahltan Territory. (Tahltan Central Government photo)

Tahltan Nation stands behind road access closures to keep hunters, non-locals out

“We’re going to continue to do that for as long as we have to.”

Land guardians in a remote territory more than 1,700 kilometres north of Vancouver not only patrol Tahltan Territory but continue to blockade access points.

The Tahltan Central Government (TCG) held true to their words in stepping up the enforcement of a non-essential travel ban by blocking access to more than a dozen roads over the past few weeks in an effort to keep non-residents out.

TCG president Chad Norman Day believes they had no choice but to block access to the roads and the Stikine River Bridge area commonly used by visitors and hunters on jet boats.

He said despite industrial development occurring within the territory which has greatly contributed to B.C.’s economic growth, medical services and infrastructure remains critically limited.

Read More: B.C. adds another 58 COVID-19 cases, one at Langley hospital

“I wish it was never necessary in the first place, and we certainly gave the province,the BC Wildlife Federation and other stakeholders plenty of notice that our position had always been consistent—that we didn’t want an influx of further visitors to Tahltan Territory and I’m still very disappointed in the response,” Day said.

Hunting and fishing were declared an essential service by the B.C. government in late April —a move that the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) considers ‘great news.’

The BCWF said while they support the request for hunters to stay away from small communities, they believe that hunting can be conducted in a safe manner in remote parts of the province where little or no contact will be made with people outside of the hunters’ immediate group or bubble.

Read More: Tahltan Nation closes hunting and recreational activity access points

“We do not support restrictions for entire “traditional territories,” especially restrictions that specifically target hunters,” stated BCWF wildlife committee chair Gerry Paille in an emailed statement, adding the BCWF has a record of working with First Nations on improving wildlife and habitat for wildlife in Tahltan, Tŝilhqot’in and other First Nations’ traditional territories.

Day estimates the TGC has spent more than $200,000 for better medevac support and ensuring the closure of the access roads which will be monitored by Tahltan guardians and gatekeepers as well as video surveillance.

“Our leadership understands now more than ever that these lack of services and infrastructure and resources put our people at risk, and I think the COVID-19 circumstances have really emphasized some of the structural problems that we’ve had for way too long, and the province’s response to things around the hunting season, the medevac issues, and other problems like the lack of a pharmacy for example — we’re not going to tolerate it anymore,” he said.

Day said he personally and the Tahltan Central Government have been the targets of racist and threatening messages on social media because of the blockades.

The BCWF said they have received some emails and phone calls expressing concerns about the situation in Region 6.

Read More: BCWF: Hunting, fishing listed as essential service during COVID-19 pandemic

“The BC Wildlife Federation does not entertain or condone racist actions and promotes respectful and well-informed dialogue with all,” Paille said.

A spokesperson with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said they ask anyone who is looking to recreate, including hunting and fishing, to do their research before they leave home, respect the wishes of local communities and follow local travel advisories and guidance.

“While hunting was declared an essential service, this in practice refers to hunting locally for food cultivation to support sustenance harvest opportunities,” the spokesperson said.

“Travelling to hunt is considered recreational and therefore is non-essential.”


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

huntingIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

TCG President Chad Norman Day says it is unfortunate they have had to take matters into their own hands. (Tahltan Central Government photo)

TCG President Chad Norman Day says it is unfortunate they have had to take matters into their own hands. (Tahltan Central Government photo)

Just Posted

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

That’s Houston physician Dr. Stefanie Steel receiving her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Jan. 19, 2021 from RN nurse manager Cindy Cockle. (Northern Health photo)
First Houston vaccinations take place

Long term care residents, health care workers on list

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

Most Read