By Andrew Paul
On October 20, 2019, supporters braved West Coast rain showers on the front lawn of the British Columbia legislature in Victoria for a historic celebration. On this date in 1984, the Tla-o-qui-aht Nation and their allies had rallied to save the old-growth rainforests of Wah’nah’juss Hilth’hooiss (Meares Island) in Clayoquot Sound from clearcut logging. Distinguished guests celebrated the successes while sharing words of wisdom for the path ahead.
Chief Moses Martin spoke of how they invited the loggers to a feast on the island, while insisting that the chainsaws remain on the boat. Environmental activist Tzeporah Berman conveyed a sense of urgency, as she spoke of the destruction of old-growth forests in BC that continues to this day, and the need for allies to accept the leadership and direction of Indigenous Nations in charting a different path. Professor John Borrows (Anishinaabe) from the UVic Law Faculty spoke of listening to the land and bringing Canada’s laws into line with Natural Law and Indigenous Law. Master Tla-o-qui-aht carver Joe Martin and his daughter Gisele Martin shared their knowledge of Wah’nah’juss Hilth’hooiss and the other Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks. Gisele closed the event with a song in the Nuu-cha-nulth language, emphasizing the need to uphold our responsibilities to care for the only home we have: the earth.
“Considering what has been accomplished over the past 35 years, just imagine what we can
accomplish in the next 35 years! Klecko Klecko!”– Eli Enns