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. 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

Stephanie Higginson, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, says people need to focus their attention on the upcoming byelection in Chilliwack. (BCSTA image)
‘Let’s not talk about Barry’ says BCSTA president on Chilliwack trustee

Higginson says impending Chilliwack byelection will require ‘laser focus’ to ensure balance of power

New Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust.
Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust in the mix for Swiss U20 roster spot

Fust is hoping to make the team that will compete in the World Junior Hockey Championships

An employee at a Chilliwack McDonald’s location tested positive for COVID on Nov. 21 (File photo by The Associated Press)
Employee tests positive for COVID-19 at McDonald’s restaurant in Chilliwack

One case was detected at the Vedder Road location, which briefly closed its doors

Asbestos bag from 2011. (Chilliwack Progress file)
New limits coming for asbestos at the Bailey Landfill in Chilliwack

Restricted to 20 bags per day per property because they don’t have capacity for larger loads

Cascade Falls Regional Park is one of several Fraser Valley parks that saw record usage during the summer of 2020. (File photo)
Residents flock to Fraser Valley parks amid pandemic

Some trails saw usage double during summer months of 2020

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

Most Read