by Margo Hearne for the Observer. About 40 people visited the Council of the Haida Nation Forest Guardian office In Masset Sunday to find out more about the Haida Land Use Vision (H-LUV).
“We want to get the word out on what it means and why we’re doing it,” Carrie Carty, CHN coordinator to the LUPP program said. “It’s all about how the CHN wants to manage the land. We have been working on it for some time, and although it’s still a work in progress, we intend to present
it to the Land Use Planning Process (LUPP) by mid-May. We gave a presentation to them in February to introduce the concept. Our Land Use Vision will be the guiding document and will outline our land management objectives”.
“Right now the biggest thing we are working on is getting Haida place names throughout the Island. We are not nearly complete with that but we have made a beginning. We have done a number of maps: Haida Protected Areas; Cedar Sites; Major Salmon Runs; Bear, Bird and Plant Habitat; Habitat
Conditions in larger Old Growth Forests; Bird Nesting Habitat; Riparian Areas and Important Habitat Values. These are all still working documents and we are still in the process of discovery. We work under the guidelines of the Haida Proclamation ‘our culture is born of respect and intimacy with the land and sea and the air around us. We owe our existence to Haida Gwaii.”
Margaret Edgars spoke of the importance of medicinal plants. “It’s what I see the Haida Land Use Vision being all about: protecting all the medicinal plants that are out there for our survival. My elders have taught me and I’d like to see the knowledge continue. It’s what the elders always used for
our good health. There are blood cleaning plants and plants for sores, cancer, TB and colds. We have to know what we are doing when we use them, everything can be poisonous if you don’t know how to use it. Many are becoming very scarce; Bunchberry and even Salal are not as common as they
used to be. Blueberries, Salmonberries, Devil’s Club are all medicinal plants and are getting scarce. Large machinery mangles many of our plants.”
“We also have to protect fish; we need a 100 meter buffer zone along the riversides, the 50 meter guideline (now in place) is not enough. We need it all along the tiny feeder streams into the rivers so the fish are not forsaken. If we can’t protect them we won’t be able to tell our grandchildren about them. Every plant here has its uses. Wild Columbine,
Fairy Slipper, Single Delight. Trees too. Red Cedar. When I was up at McCLinton Bay they were burning Yellow Cedar, huge trees that we could all use. If these are not criminal acts, they should be. We have to protect our plants. This is in accord with the Haida Constitution where it outlines that the living generation accepts the responsibility to ensure that our heritage is passed on to following generations. If we don’t pass this knowledge on, we will lose it.”
Many were interested in seeing the finished document but as Carrie said, “we wanted people to know that we are working on it and that it’s a work still in progress.”
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