WASHINGTON -- April 13 -- Haida Nation reclaims 4 barge-loads of raw logs to fund schools and hospitals. Supporters plan large demonstration in support of native land rights at Weyerhaeusers April 21 shareholders meeting in Seattle.
Haida Gwaii Islands, BC The communities of Haida Gwaii are preparing for a third week of community checkpoints blocking Weyerhaeuser logging and asserting native land rights on their island. The checkpoints began on March 23 in response to Weyerhaeusers proposed sell-off of long-term logging licenses on the island. Island resident say that failed negotiations; un-enforced laws and decades of destructive forestry have left them with no option but to block further industrial logging by Weyerhaeuser. Locals have named the actions Island Spirit Rising and reclaimed four barge-loads of raw logs from Weyerhaeuser to help fund schools, hospitals, language and cultural programs and other community services neglected by the BC government.
Weyerhaeusers logging operations on Haida Gwaii were included in a proposed $1.2 billion sale of the companys B.C. Coastal Group to Brascan Financial Corporation. The Haida Nation views the sale as classic cut-and-run behavior from the worlds largest logger of old-growth forests. Recent studies by the David Suzuki Foundation confirm that Weyerhaeuser has systematically targeted the most valuable ancient cedar on the islanda practice that is in direct violation of agreements the company made with the Haida to protect cultural artifacts, wildlife habitat and jobs on the island.
"Weyerhaeuser has shown no respect for the land, the culture or the people who have worked for their company said Guujaaw, president of the Haida Nation, Weyerhaeuser has no respect for its own word. We want a forest practices that are sustainable and committed to Islands stability.
Support for the checkpoints has spread though native and non-native communities throughout North America. On Vancouver Island, the Hupacasath First Nation filed a lawsuit challenging the privatization of Weyerhaeuser's tree farm licenses on public lands. In Vancouver, the United Steelworkers, representing over 10,000 Weyerhaeuser workers called for fairness and dignity for working people, our families and our communities. In Seattle, the Haida Cultural Heritage Foundation has teamed up with Rainforest Action Network, Amnesty International and socially responsible investors to organize a large demonstration at Weyerhaeusers annual meeting of Shareholders on April 21. The groups plan to call for respect for native land rights and protection of endangered forests worldwide. Solidarity demonstrations are also planned for the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.
Rainforest Action Network campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life through education, grassroots organizing and non-violent direct actions. For more information, please visit RAN.org.