The Ahousaht and Hesquiaht Nations, on British Columbia’s Vancouver island, have begun to notify local businesses and the federal and provincial government that they are asserting the authority of their hereditary chiefs [Hawilth].
Declaring themselves united, in a letter dated January 2009, the two Nations say they will now begin to exercise their authority, give expression to self-governance, and systematically increase their presence within their respective territories [Hahoulthee] – “so that all will know the power and deepest meaning of Hahoulthee and Hawilth – whether government, businesses or organizations.”
In part, this means all companies doing business within the Ahousaht’s and Hesquiaht’s territories will now have to gain approval from the Hawilth.
A specific land use policy will also be implemented, resembling that of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, which requires companies to pay royalties and/or licensing fees for their activities.
“By exercising our authority – we maintain and strengthen our political, legal, economic, social and cultural structures,” the letter states. “We are hereby furthering our rights to own, to use our resources, and to develop and control our Hahoulthee.”
To Whom It May Concern:
Ahousaht and Hesquiaht Nations have united. Through the undersigned Hawiih (1) and on behalf of our people, we carry a mandate to advance our inherent Aboriginal title, exercise our authority and give expression to our self- governance. Our commitment was witnessed in a public declaration at the First Nations Summit on November 27, 2008 in Vancouver.
By exercising our authority- we maintain and strengthen our political, legal, economic, social and cultural structures. We are hereby furthering our rights to own, to use our resources, and to develop and control our Hahoulthee (2).
We are giving power to our significant contribution to the development of this province and country and to our economic strength. It is our intention to fulfill our inherited role and take our rightful place in this economy today.
We are putting immediate and specific plans in place in regards to royalties, licenses, fees, sales, use and management of all lands and resources within our respective Hahoulthee.
Furthermore, Ahousaht and Hesquiaht recognize and will uphold and bring to life the legal victories of the First Nations people in BC and Canada in our Hahoulthee. Through this letter, our intention is to communicate directly that effective immediately:
We are systematically increasing our presence in our territories so that all will know the power and deepest meaning of Hahoulthee and Hawiih- whether government, businesses or organizations
We will call upon our traditional laws to use and access the resources in our Hahoulthee with permission from our Hawiih
Any economic activity in our Hahoulthee must be granted by the permission and authority of our Hawiih
We are creating plans of action to work together for our economic benefit in our Hahoulthee by addressing- Self-governance, Lands and Resources, Parks and Industry in a phased approach
We will manage and benefit from the wealth of our Hahoulthee
We extend an invitation to meet in regards to our plans and implementation. For further information please contact Guy Louie and Joe Tom at 250 726 2446.
In the spirit of the New Relationship, and for the well-being of our people,
Ahousaht Nation Hesquiaht Nation
Maquinna – Lewis George Matlahoa- Dominic Andrews
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