Ahousaht Nation announces sustainable land-use vision

Tofino – The Ahousaht First Nation released the first phase of their long-term sustainable economic development plan for their territory (hahoulthlee) in Clayoquot Sound, a marine and land-use vision that prioritizes sustainability.

“The economic sustainability of our community must be underpinned by sustainable marine and land use planning and that is where we are starting today,” said Chief Maquinna.

The release of this vision represents the culmination of over two years of work by the community, led by the Maaqutusiis Hahoutlhee Stewardship Society, which represents the Ahousaht Chiefs.

Chief Maquinna also voiced his appreciation to The Nature Conservancy Canada (TNC) for their technical support and commitment to raising a stewardship endowment fund to support the land-use vision’s implementation in the region.

The Ahousaht believe that this is the beginning of a new era, based on recognition and celebration of Ahousaht people and culture, conservation of the world-class forest and marine resources of Clayoquot Sound, and the development of a more diversified, sustainable local economy, including community forestry.

In August 2016, the Ahousaht signed a new relationship protocol with BC, which was jointly announced by Ahousaht Tyee Ha’wilth Maquinna (Hereditary Chief Lewis George), elected Chief Councillor Greg Louie and Premier Clark.

“We look forward to building on the strong relationship we have established with the Government of British Columbia to advance economic prosperity that respects traditional Ahousaht values,” says Ahousaht Chief Councilor Greg Louie. “Our people are ready to create local, family-supporting jobs through renewable energy, respectful tourism and sustainable resource development.”

The agreement between Ahousaht and BC will bring $1.25 million to Ahousaht over five years to support economic development and to establish a collaborative approach to resource management and permitting within our traditional territory.

“The community values expressed during the planning process reaffirmed our traditional teachings that the Ahousaht people are inextricably linked to the natural world that we refer to as our hahoulthlee,” added Hereditary Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. “This bold vision brings certainty to the future of old growth forests and ensures functioning marine and aquatic ecosystems into the next millennia. It is a proud day to be Ahousaht.”

Chiefs Atleo and Maquinna also voiced their support to their neighbouring First Nations, Tla-o-qui-aht and Hesquiaht, as they embark on similar planning processes for their traditional territories and look forward to developing shared boundary accords as they progress.

TNC Canada Executive Director Hadley Archer offered his congratulations: “When Ahousaht invited TNC Canada to support their land-use planning, we could only hope that it would become what it is today — a blueprint for a sustainable future rooted in sacred cultural values and protective of a globally significant ecosystem. We look forward to continued work with the Ahousaht and other Nations in building thriving, local economies.”

Visit www.mhssahousaht.ca to read the Land Use Vision.

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