Residents think Sandspit should sign protocol: petition

  • Feb. 29, 2008 5:00 p.m.

A majority of Sandspit residents believe their community should sign the protocol agreement with the Council of the Haida Nation, says a woman who spent the last two months knocking on almost every door in town. Nance Robbins said she thought there was a lot of support in Sandspit for the protocol agreement, and couldn’t understand why her community remains the only one on the islands which hasn’t signed the document. After talking to almost everyone in Sandspit during January and February and distributing hundreds of copies of the agreement between the CHN and the village of Queen Charlotte, Ms Robbins collected 179 signatures from adult residents in support. Another 72 people refused to sign and she estimates that 30 adults were out of town during the seven weeks she was circulating the petition. That means more than 70 percent of those contacted signed the petition. Ms Robbins said she was pleasantly surprised by the strong support. This week, after compiling the results, she sent copies of the petition to the Council of the Haida Nation, the regional district, provincial MLA Gary Coons and federal MP Nathan Cullen. Port Clements and Masset signed the protocol agreement in 2004, while Area D and Queen Charlotte signed in 2006. The agreement commits the parties to working cooperatively and respectfully and holding regular, open discussions. It also recognizes the co-existence of crown and aboriginal title on Haida Gwaii. Ms Robbins said she decided to organize the petition because she thought if she could prove that enough people in Sandspit supported the protocol agreement, it might convince regional district director Travis Glasman to sign it. (Because Sandspit is not incorporated, the regional district director can decide whether or not to sign.) Mr. Glasman has said previously that he supports the document and looks forward to the day Sandspit signs it, but a local committee organized several years ago to consider the question did not reach agreement. Ms Robbins said some of the Sandspit residents she spoke to wanted her to take the 179 signatures directly to the CHN to prove their community supports the protocol, even if their representatives have so far refused to sign. Many of those she spoke to blamed the Moresby Island Management Committee for the impasse. “I found opinions of the MIMC coming out your ying yang,” she said. “All negative… mainly because they still haven’t signed that thing yet.” None of the management committee’s eight members signed the petition, she said.

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