April 16th, 2021
On March 27th, Extinction Rebellion Vancouver staged a sit-in on the Cambie Bridge in Vancouver to support a call out for actions in defence of a rare intact watershed of old growth forest in Fairy Creek, on unceded Pacheedaht territory, that is under threat of imminent logging. We would like to acknowledge a recent statement by Chief Frank Queesto Jones and Jess Jones of the Pacheedaht Nation asking activists at Fairy Creek to leave their land. With the leadership and support of Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones, the Rainforest Flying Squad has been inviting people to resist old growth logging in the Fairy Creek watershed where they have occupied space since August 2020. Since the statement on April 12th, Bill Jones has published is own statement, asking people to remain at the blockades and continue to stand with him to protect the forest. Questions around leadership and who speaks for any group of people are always fraught. We are aware of the divide-to-conquer methods used so often by colonial governments, through outdated or manipulative consultation agreements.
Guided by Bill’s words, that “we must never assume that we know what is going on in a community that we do not either live in or have a relationship with,” we recognize we have no place to comment on the internal governance of the Nation, however XR Vancouver believes that protecting these ancient ecosystems remains crucial. We support the call to action at the blockade in Fairy Creek and all other efforts to #HALTBIODIVERSITYLOSS.
Logging of the old growth causes irreversible damage. We acknowledge that the Pacheedaht Nation has always managed forestry resources for “cultural, ceremonial, domestic and economic purposes” and should be free to continue to do so. At the same time, an end to industrial old growth logging in the area is crucial for any chance we have for ecosystem and atmospheric stability. XR Vancouver is calling for the Province to give the Pacheedaht Nation meaningful and sustainable economic alternatives to old growth logging, and the ability to leave the binding contracts with forestry companies and the Province that they have entered into if they choose to do so. Nations must be given options — including conservation funding — to truly have a choice when balancing economic imperatives and land stewardship for generations to come.
Check @FairycreekBlockade facebook page and @savefairycreek for more details about this complex situation.
Love and Protection,
Extinction Rebellion Vancouver