How can you get involved to help protect Nuxalk Ancestral Lands?
1. Get informed on what is happening, contact Nuxalk elected and traditional leadership:
* Check out an interesting and informative website:
First Nations – Land Rights and Environmentalism in BC
2. Learn about locally important issues concerning the environment:
3. Make better choices on how to reduce your environmental footprint:
The Nuxalk worldview holds that Tatau, the Creator, took us from the heavens and put us in ancestral Nuxalk territory. Family ancestors came to the earth in various animal cloaks- the eagle, killer whale, grizzly bear, raven, and others. We are the caretakers of our lands and are part of them. We validate these claims through our songs, dances, names and titles, which have been handed down to us since the first ancestors descended to Nuxalk territory. Nuxalk views on the environment are tied to the responsibilities of being a Nuxalk citizen.
As late Nuxalk elder Elsie Jacobs said,
“You can put on your dancing blanket and say that you’re proud to be from the house of the grizzly bear, or you can put on your dancing blanket and say that your grandfather was a raven, or you can say that you are proud to be a killer whale… but what is happening to the grizzly bear? To the raven? To the killerwhale? They’re getting kicked out of their house… what are you doing about it? And you put on your blanket and say you’re proud? I don’t think so. It doesn’t work that way.”
Nuxalk Ancestral Territory has been under considerable stress since the time of colonialism. Industrial logging and fishing have contributed to a severely over-harvested and depleted ecosystem, which has reached a critical state of existence.
In 1995, under the leadership of Head Hereditary Chief Nuximlayc -Lawrence Pootlass, the House of Smayusta took a stand at one of our most pristine, most sacred valleys- Ista. It was a peaceful stand against industrial logging and a declaration of Nuxalk Sovereignty in our Ancestral Territory.
In 1998, the last runs of ooligans came to the Bella Coola River. In June of 2007, a conference was hosted by the Nuxalk to address the significance of the loss of the ooligans. It was a first step to initiate inter-nation collaboration on dealing with an issue that is important to many nations on the central and north coast.
There remains much work and collaboration to protect the lands and waters and all the resources on which we depend as Nuxalkmc.