‘Removing the evidence of our existence’: logging of culturally important trees rampant in B.C.

By Judith Lavoie
The Narwhal
November 16, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Culturally modified trees (CMTs) in B.C with marks showing they were used by Indigenous Peoples before 1846 are officially protected. But with little independent oversight, experts say these irreplaceable trees are regularly being cut down by the forestry industry. The steady loss of culturally modified trees means historical gaps, hiwus Calvin Craigan, Hereditary Chief of the shíshálh Nation, said. “… culturally modified trees are part of demonstrating that we have been here for thousands of years,” he said. …“The critical importance of this point is that … it is a physical marker of our territory. That we were there and we used it,” ‘Namgis First Nation elected Chief Councillor Don Svanvik said.  CMTs can help reclaim jurisdiction over territory, Svanvik added. “This is the way to get the evidence,” he said. “We still need to demonstrate that we were on this land.” But CMTs are frequently being logged, sources told The Narwhal. 

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