B.C. entered Phase 3 of its restart plan on June 24, 2020 allowing people to take part in ‘smart, safe, and respectful’ travel within the province. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. reopening travel not sitting well with several First Nations

A number of safety conditions have yet to be met Indigenous leaders maintain

The B.C. Government’s proclamation allowing visitors to now travel within the province is not sitting well with several First Nations who maintain Indigenous lives are being put at risk.

The Heiltsuk, Tsilhqot’in and Nuu-chah-nulth Nations have pledged to support each other’s efforts to restrict travel in their respective territories until safety conditions are met, according to a news release issued June 24.

President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in Port Alberni, Dr. Judith Sayers said they have not given their consent to open up the province.

“We will do what we need to in order to protect our people, and if there is an impasse, we need to talk,” she stated. “For us, it is people before economics.”

Read More: COVID-19: B.C. ready for in-province travel, John Horgan says

Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation (Bella Bella) Marilyn Slett said they are still waiting for basic safety measures and information sharing while B.C. moves into Phase 3 of opening the province to travel and tourism.

Those measures, Sayers and Slett said, include the sharing of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases to Indigenous governments, screening non-residents and providing culturally-safe contract tracing teams.

Because there are only two rapid testing kits for B.C. Indigenous communities, Sayers and Slett added rapid testing must also be prioritized for Indigenous and remote communities.

In B.C.’s central Interior west of Williams Lake, Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse said the Tsilhqot’in National Government supports the positions taken by Nuu-chah-nulth and Heiltsuk.

“We have also restricted access to our communities to varying degrees throughout this crisis,” Alphonse noted.

“Our priority is to protect our elders and our people, and this work is made much more difficult by B.C.’s refusal to provide case information sharing, screening, rapid testing and culturally-safe contact tracing. Our nations will stand together to keep our people and communities safe.”

By law, international travellers returning to B.C. continue to be required to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusFirst Nationstravel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

UPDATE: missing 12-year-old Terrace boy found safe

Was reported missing on Southside around 10 p.m. July 9

Terrace conservation officers relocate Spirit bear

Bear roamed Kitsumkalum Valley north of Terrace for many years

Seabridge Gold starts drilling along proposed tunnel route north of Stewart

Twin tunnels will connect the KSM mine to its mill and tailings site

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

RCMP confirm homicide investigation underway near Quesnel

Police releasing few details four days after homicide occurred Monday, July 6

Most Read