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Dispatches from the frontlines of Fairy Creek Rainforest defence


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A new statement from Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones explains some history around the Indian Act and Pacheedaht Band Council and how the system of patronage and colonization needs to be investigated. He condemns the extraction economics behind the logging in Fairy Creek forests—forests which he believes help people regain their sensitivity.


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Guest Tina

Thanks for the running commentary and gathering of info and links. Very helpful. 

Looking forward to news of the progress of the court challenge of RCMP media exclusion.

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Rainforest Flying Squad sent out these updates for May 27, 2021:

Fairy Creek, Pacheedaht Territory:

RCMP entered the high side of Fairy Creek today, and arrests are happening right now at Waterfall Camp and for the past six hours or more. 

Roads could be built into the Fairy Creek headwaters within a few short days, and logging will go very quickly...

Waterfall Camp was the first blockade the Rainforest Flying Squad established last year on August 10th, in order to block planned road-building over the ridge and into the pristine Fairy Creek watershed. We are holding Elder Bill Jones in our hearts as the world watches Fairy Creek. 

Elder Bill has spent time throughout his whole life in this area, which he regards as sacred. We cannot imagine how painful this must be for him, and other Pacheedaht band members who do not agree with logging this area.

Fairy Creek watershed is the last unlogged watershed in the San Juan River system. Trees growing on Vancouver Island are among the biggest in the world.

Some nearby roads have been de-activated which affects people's ability to travel. Bugaboo is not passable at this time, deactivated about 4 km up from Gordon River Road.

We have also heard that industry is digging up the road, putting in big trenches, blocking cars in and closing access.

Caycuse, Ditidaht Territory:

Photos below of one of the tree-sits, in which two people were staying. And the ongoing destruction now happening in the now-undefended forest at Caycuse. (The photographer prefers to remain anonymous.)




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The Community Services/Media Coordinator with the Federal Serious & Organized Crime (FSOC) out of Surrey informed media at 7:49 am today that “today’s planned enforcement of the BC Supreme Court’s injunction order in the Fairy Creek Watershed will take place in the Port Renfrew area. I ask that you meet the media liaisons in the mill’s gravel pull out/parking area approximately 1 km past Port Renfrew on Pacific Marine Road to rendezvous for escort.  All interested media should meet at 9:30 a.m.” There media need to sign in with ID prior to being accompanied to a designated media area.” Media are also warned things could change—as they did recently when FOCUS photographer Dawna Mueller showed up as directed, but the RCMP did not—they had gone to Caycuse about 2 hours away.

Media are understandably complaining about the lack of access. Even when at the site of arrests, they have been “corralled” far down the road from where arrests take place, making it impossible to document the behaviour of both protestors and police. 

A coalition of media have filed a court application to limit the powers of police when issuing injunctions.


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Guest Luthien Teel

Youth-led protest  for the defense of Fairy Creek!

VICTORIA BC -- On May 28, people of all ages, led by youth, will gather in solidarity on Lekwungen traditional and unceded lands to protest the logging of ancient forests. To demand that the NDP government follow through with the promises made during the election to protect the remaining old-growth forest, starting with the watershed area of Fairy Creek (also known as Ada’itx). We will have speakers, singers, an open mic, and possibly a mural drawing. We are encouraging families and youth to come, as the defense of old-growth ecosystems will affect the lives of today’s children, along with all those who are interested and passionate about this issue.

WHAT: Strike/Protest to demand the immediate protection of old-growth forests in BC.

WHERE: 122-2806 Jacklin Road, Langford BC

WHEN: May 28, 12PM-->2PM

WHO: K-12 and University students, families, diverse Victoria residents, climate activists

Trees for Tomorrow is a youth-led organization working to defend old-growth forests. They mobilized hundreds of people into protesting old growth logging at their very first protest on May 24, 2021.

 Our Earth Our Future, the Victoria chapter of Climate Strikes Canada, was launched in February, 2019. In addition to carrying out a number of actions supporting municipal climate action, it has since organized three major climate strikes, drawing an estimated 20,000 people in September 2019.

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Guest Rainforest Flying Squad
Waterfall Camp, Fairy Creek, Pacheedaht Territory:
RCMP have arrived and are extracting protestors from 'hard blockades' -- where they are locked to an object and must be cut free. Sometimes a jackhammer or other special equipment is required.
At least 25 police vehicles are on site.
Earlier, a tree or trees fell on power lines, blocking the road about 5 km from the Gordon River Bridge. DLT from RCMP used this as reason to set up a check-point, not allowing people through for 'safety' reasons, although the tree had been cleared away and there was no longer any danger. 
The check-point has been moved farther up, and we understand they are allowing tourists to go through to Avatar Grove, etc., but are sending away people who look like they may be protestors. (Justice Verhoeven specified in in granting Teal Jones' injunction that people must be permitted to protest, by the way.)
On several days now, many protestors' cars have been towed away. Some people still have not found their cars, and we've heard of towing fees of as much as $800 being charged. We hope a reporter will investigate the legality of this towing. Vehicles are again being towed today.
(Correction: Yesterday's update said our first blockade last August was at Waterfall Camp. Actually it was at Ridge Camp, where road-building was about to top the ridge into Fairy Creek Watershed. Both camps are at Fairy Creek.)
We apologize for some very divisive images we are seeing from supporters. The supporters who created them are undoubtedly upset, as we all are here, at the flagrant abuses of Indigenous people and civil rights, the betrayal of a campaign promise to fulfill all the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategy, and the use of government power to enable industrial-scale destruction of old-growth trees and ecosystems for profit.
However, most of us feel there can be no comparison with a leader responsible for killing millions of innocent people. We ask that our supporters stop sharing these kinds of images, out of respect to survivors of the Holocaust and their families, and to uphold our own commitment to non-violence. Inciting hatred and dehumanization is also violence.
While we do hold our political leaders to account for their actions, we must keep in mind that the problem is systemic and entrenched. It helps no one to demonize the "other side".
We are grateful to Taylor Bachrach, NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, who tweeted his disgust at seeing a monumental log on the back of a logging truck... It takes courage to speak up when your entire party is headed down a misguided road. 
And we are grateful to Svend Robinson, who sent his respect to those engaged in this civil disobedience to protect the remaining kin of the dead tree posted on Reddit. 
In fact, support is pouring in from so many directions. By now we have heard that well over 1000 people plan to head to the Fairy Creek area on Saturday, to stand with us and the trees. They include elders, children, families, and the Indigenous people whose birthright includes a deep spiritual connection to the earth and nature, and to the unceded territories where their people have lived for thousands of years.
"Premier Horgan, this movement is getting bigger by the minute," said Carole Tootill, who has been with Rainforest Flying Squad since the beginning over nine months ago. "It's not going away. 
"But there's still time to be a hero, and to step up to fulfill the promise you made. You can still put a halt on all old-growth logging in BC right now."
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Guest Rainforest Flying Squad

Saturday, May 29, 2021 was a profoundly moving moment at Waterfall Camp in Fairy Creek, Pacheedaht Territories!

Things looked so dire yesterday—only one protestor remained to be extracted, so far as we knew. 

Access was blocked, and camp structures that had sustained forest protectors for the past nine months had been destroyed. 

The outlook was grim. It seemed industry workers could be logging within a day or two.

But today there was no RCMP enforcement. And like the cavalry at the last minute, a thousand or more pro-old-growth activists arrived. 

Leading the crowd, Elder Bill Jones accompanied Victor Peters, the 17-year-old whom he says is the true hereditary chief of Pacheedaht First Nation. 

He led the crowd to the police tape that denied access to Waterfall Camp, and declared:

“I ask you, the policeman, to escort my chief to where he needs to go—which is these territories.

“He needs access to his lands. So you must clear the way, so that these people will help him care for the old growth in this territory.

“You’ve been draining this territory for some two or three hundred years. You have cut all our timber with no remorse.

“You are invaders. And I say to you: Clear the way, to escort my chief.”

Ironically, a TV news clip, also filmed today, shows a white woman at a logger’s rally in Mesachie Lake, complaining about Fairy Creek protestors: 

“They're going to tell us how forestry should be in British Columbia? They’re not from here. Go home!”


Today [Saturday] was a deeply moving moment for Rainforest Flying Squad”s members. To see Elder Bill and Victor Peter reclaim Waterfall Camp seemed symbolic of a new day for Indigenous peoples—one that finally acknowledges the people who lived in North America before Columbus “discovered” it.

In cutting the tape of the police line today, and escorting hundreds of guests past a symbol of colonial obstruction, Elder Bill and Victor Peters not only reclaimed Waterfall Camp, but also reclaimed the rights to their ancestral territory of several thousand years—territory which has never been sold or surrendered.

A deep connection and oneness with the land is part of Indigenous culture, identity, and spirituality. Even First Nations languages are said to have arisen from the land. With colonization came the destruction of lands for profit. Profit for those who do not live on those lands.

At some time in the past, all people were indigenous to their region. With the ability to travel came a disconnection from the land, a loss of respect and awareness of our interconnectedness, and of our utter dependence on the health and wholeness of the land and the beings that live upon it.

Last month on April 12th, the Pacheedaht elected chief issued a letter saying, “Pacheedaht First Nation is concerned that third-party interference on our Nation’s interests and affairs, including resource stewardship, is polarizing and harming our community, and we have asked for it to cease.” 

Elder Bill has always maintained that the person who signed that letter as hereditary chief was not eligible for that responsibility. 

He and Bill are relatives. Their family has only been in Pacheedaht territory for about 400 years, Bill says. Before that, their lineage was from the Terrace area, so they would not be considered to have a strong hereditary connection to the territory.

Elder Bill’s niece, Kati George-Jim, has explained that if a hereditary chief does not adequately perform his or her job—stewarding and properly caring for the land—he can no longer hold that title.

In fact, George-Jim and Jones say, the entire system of electing chiefs and band councils was imposed on First Nations people. Not only is the system untraditional—it is an active and ongoing tool of oppression and assimilation in many nations. In addition, Jones and other members of the nation say they were never consulted about the logging of their traditional territory's ancient forests.

The world is watching Fairy Creek. This small fragment of old-growth forest in British Columbia is symbolic of what is going on in countries around the world. Indigenous peoples' lands have been stolen and destroyed.

With their ancient connections to the land that gave birth to their mothers' mothers, Indigenous people were the natural stewards. They knew how to live in a respectful and truly sustainable way with all life. A healthy balance was maintained. We have lost that, and at this time in planetary history, we are facing unimaginable consequences.

Colonial societies are now seeing the results of this disconnection. We are experiencing incredible loss of biodiversity, dangerous loss of arable soil, and catastrophic global warming.

Fairy Creek is an emblem for the planet’s precious ancient forests, and all that lives among them. 

Let us all lift up the voices and wisdom of Indigenous people. If we will listen, we have so much to learn about how to live in respectful harmony with nature.

If we listen, Indigenous wisdom may lead us back to that ancient and essential deeper connection to the land we live on, and respect for the beings we share it with. As he requested, let's help Elder Bill and Victor Peters, and together with all Indigenous people, let's heal the land, and create unity and balance.

At Fairy Creek, it’s not over till it’s over. 


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Guest Virginia Thompson

Yesterday in Revelstoke about 100 people joined Emma Atkinson in her demonstation in support of Fairy Creek and old growth in BC. Here we are standing on a chalk circumference of a giant tree in Pacific Rim National Park. People spoke of our Inland Temperate Rainforest primary and old growth forests that are being logged all the time in the Columbia watershed north and south of Revelstoke...including in endangered mountain caribou habitat.




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Guest Ciel Sander

People in Castlegar blocked the street in front of the RCMP detachment in support of protecting old-growth forest and the forest defenders at Fairy Creek.




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Guest Wilderness Committee

No action on escalating old-growth crisis in today’s B.C. forestry announcement
Intentions paper on tenure reform does nothing to address logging of most at-risk old-growth forests 

VICTORIA / UNCEDED LEKWUNGEN TERRITORIES — The Modernizing Forest Policy plan released today by Premier John Horgan and forests minister Katrine Conroy marks another missed opportunity for the BC NDP government to keep its promise to protect at-risk old-growth forests and de-escalate the conflict unfolding around old-growth, according to the Wilderness Committee.

“John Horgan made big promises on old-growth, but instead of stepping up and keeping them he’s skirting around them and issuing out-of-touch statements while continuing to heel drag and stall,” said National Campaign Director Torrance Coste. “The premier needs to find the courage and stop avoiding reality. He needs to put a hold on old-growth logging.”

While the concentration of logging tenure with a handful of corporations and B.C.’s outdated Forest, Range and Practices Act are some of the causes of the many problems in forests in B.C., commitments to address these don’t change the immediate need to defer logging in at-risk old-growth forests. While more involvement in the forest industry for First Nations is important, decolonization and returning the land must be the ultimate goal. 

Without concrete actions on the ground, conservationists and independent scientists warn too much old-growth will be lost in the meantime. The conflict around ancient forests raging from the steps of MLA offices to the backroads around the Caycuse Valley and Fairy Creek will continue.

“Horgan made an election promise to stop logging old-growth and now he’s trying to change the channel and talk about who should be logging and how,” Coste said. “The goals in the intentions paper are worthy, but frankly, this announcement today looks like a brazen attempt to misdirect and dodge responsibility and will only increase public anger over the destruction of old-growth forests.”

In the year since the B.C. government received the report from the independent Old-growth Strategic Review panel, it has rubber-stamped a dramatic increase in old-growth logging approvals. The Horgan government’s inaction has been met with public outcry and increased activism and pressure, including the longest-running blockade effort in almost three decades, largely centred in Horgan’s own riding. 

“People are furious, to a degree I’ve never seen — they know how dire things are and they know that ‘talk and log’ is completely unacceptable,” Coste said. “Not a single one of the 20 policy intentions announced today is achievable without social license, and without any immediate action on old-growth, this government will continue to lose that.”

The Wilderness Committee is calling for immediate deferrals of all at-risk old-growth forests, with complete compensation for First Nations, other communities and contractors who may lose revenue and income as a result, along with a mandated timeline for the implementation of the rest of the Old-growth Strategic Review panel’s fourteen recommendations.

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Guest Sierra Club BC

Sierra Club BC reacts to Premier Horgan’s forestry announcement 


Sierra Club BC Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner Jens Wieting offers the following brief statement in response to today’s announcements on updates to forestry in B.C.

June 1, 2021

Statement by Sierra Club BC Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner Jens Wieting:

“Today’s announcement was an Orwellian nightmare. The outrageous claims by Premier John Horgan about how much old-growth is already protected and the extent of old-growth protections enacted during his government is quickly destroying any and all remaining trust that his government is sincere about its promise to protect at-risk forests before it’s too late.

“Preparing to redistribute forest tenure without first taking action to ensure that the most endangered old-growth forests have at least interim protection will only make it harder to save any of these forests later. It’s continued talk-and log. People in B.C. who care about the web of life should be deeply worried about this government’s ongoing denial of the severity of the old-growth and biodiversity crisis.

“This government received a blueprint for solutions over a year ago, independent experts mapped the most endangered old-growth forests across the province for them, the federal government committed $2.3billion dollars to increase protected areas across Canada and yet, old-growth logging continues unabated and almost all at-risk forests remain without interim protection.

“The old-growth crisis calls for immediate short-term funding for First Nations and forestry workers seeking an alternative to logging the last old-growth. Defending business as usual will only exacerbate conflicts like the one happening over Fairy Creek and undermine options for communities seeking an alternative to destructive resource extraction.”

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