CHN president says offer requires surrender of Haida land

  • Sep. 4, 2003 5:00 a.m.

The province’s offer of 20-percent of the islands is really a suggestion that “we surrender 80-percent of Haida land,” Guujaaw, president of the Council of the Haida Nation, told the Observer Thursday.
“We don’t even see it as an offer”, he said, “We think they are up to something, we actually think it is trying to provoke a fight with us.”
Guujaaw said the CHN will discuss the province’s move, but the Haida are going ahead with their title case, before the BC Supreme Court since last March.
“This is not going to distract us from that,” Guujaaw said. Dropping the court action and resuming treaty negotiations are the province’s key conditions.
The CHN president also said the Haida have been discussing several things with the province, including land use planning, interim forestry measures and accommodation of aboriginal interest, but “one of the things we were not discussing with them was a treatyÂ…” He added “it wasn’t us that walked away from the (treaty) table, it was they who walked. And they walked when we went into court on the tree farm licence.”
“It is interesting that they should be doing this, when our mode has been trying to find ways to cooperate,” Guujaaw said, “We are in court but we can find ways we can work together, we thought. Maybe that’s not possible with this government”
He also said the offer is not going to improve relations between the Haida and the province, and that “there’s only one place to set the blame and that is squarely with themselves.”