Archie Stocker Sr. / Haida Gwaii Observer Ron George, Tsaskiy, Wet’suwet’en Heredity Chief, took part in the logging blockade at Athlii Gwaii, or Lyell Island, 33 years ago. He returned to Haida Gwaii from Victoria for the 33rd anniversary of the movement that led to the establishment of the Gwaii Haanas Park Reserve.

Logging blockade participants reunite 33 years later

Hundreds gathered at Old Massett including those who stood the line at Athlii Gwaii, Lyell Island

On the anniversary of the public stand against clear cut logging at Athlii Gwaii, or Lyell Island, many of the same people who stood on the line 33 years ago reunited.

In the Old Massett hall, on Sunday, July 22, approximately 500 people shared stories and food in memory of the movement that lead to the establishment of the Gwaii Haanas Park Reserve.

Clear cut logging on the island began in 1975. But south of Lyell there had been no logging until 1985 when the a new logging area was approved by the forests ministry. Opposition to logging was evident. Haidas took a fleet of seine boats to Athlii Gwaii to stop the logging, and demand the area be preserved.

Many of those who stood up for their land and against the logging took part in the anniversary celebration.

READ MORE: Athlii Gwaii Legacy Trust nears relaunch

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Old Massett Rev. Lily Bell with the opening prayer. (Archie Stocker Sr. / Haida Gwaii Observer)

Haida elder Verne Williams sings and drums and plays his Haida soul music on a self carved flute. (Archie Stocker Sr. / Haida Gwaii Observer)

Haida elder Margaret Edgars. (Archie Stocker Sr. / Haida Gwaii Observer)

(Archie Stocker Sr. / Haida Gwaii Observer)

Group photo shows the participants from long ago. (Archie Stocker Sr. / Haida Gwaii Observer)

Logging on Graham Island. (Archie Stocker Sr. / Haida Gwaii Observer)

Logging on Graham Island. (Archie Stocker Sr. / Haida Gwaii Observer)

Arm in arm, the people who stood up to prevent logging on Athlii Gwaii 33 years ago. (Archie Stocker Sr. / Haida Gwaii Observer)

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