The Sarita Estuary sits at the heart of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ hahuułi (traditional territory) and has been a source of food, transportation and cultural value to the nations for generations. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

FORESTRY WEEK: Huu-ay-aht work on resource management plan for territory

Hišuk ma c̕awak a guiding principle for Huu-ay-aht ḥahuułi

Hišuk ma c’awak (Everything is One) is a Nuu-chah-nulth principle that describes the essential balance of nature, or the “web of life.” Many Huu-ay-aht histories tell of the complex and strong relationship between humans and all of nature. In keeping with these traditions, Huu-ay-aht First Nations is instilling this guiding principle into resource management within their hahuułi (traditional territory).

As part of their larger commitment to cooperative forest planning, Huu-ay-aht has engaged with Western Forest Products and other forest tenure holders within their hahuułi to begin developing the Hišuk ma c’awak Integrated Resource Management Plan to define new cooperative planning and decision-making processes regarding natural resource operations within the Huu-ay-aht hahuułi.

The process is anticipated to take approximately two years but will continually be monitored and revisited afterwards to ensure ongoing effectiveness.

The planning process intends to create a coordinated harvesting, reserve and silviculture strategy for the entire Hahuułi that accounts for the ecosystem interconnections that tie all parts of the land together, despite the patchwork of formal jurisdictions across the landscape.

This work will allow Huu-ay-aht to set an appropriate allowable annual cut (AAC) for their Treaty Lands and will inform the AAC for Crown Tenures and TFL 44 within the Hahuułi.

This Huu-ay-aht led initiative is being overseen by the Huu-ay-aht Hawiih Council (Hereditary Chiefs) and elected Executive Council and will receive ongoing feedback from Huu-ay-aht citizens through a Citizen Oversight Committee and extensive community engagement. Several forestry and natural resource subject matter experts that have supported and advised the Nation over many years remain in place to support this work that will allow Huu-ay-aht and partnering companies to incorporate a myriad of environmental, social and cultural values into forestry planning for decades to come.

Alberni Valley News