First Nations Communities
First Nations have called the Great Bear Rainforest home since time before memory. One of the earliest known coastal villages is Namu, a 11,000-year-old site in Heiltsuk territory.
Long before European settlers arrived, B.C.’s coast supported sophisticated, organized cultures, a flourishing trade network and a thriving artisan tradition.
The Great Bear Rainforest land use agreements, and the more recent Reconciliation Protocols, recognize coastal First Nations as governments with decision-making power over resource development and other activities in their traditional territories.
The Coast Opportunity Funds include sustainable fisheries, forestry and tourism, monitoring and management of activities in traditional territories, restoration of ecological values and capacity-building programs to support these initiatives.includes a $120 million financing package to fund conservation management projects and ecologically sustainable business ventures in First Nation territories. Projects funded by
Sierra Club BC works directly with several First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest on a Coastal Guardian Watchmen Network, leadership training for Koeye Science and Culture Camp, a teachers resource guidebook on wild products from the forest, a best practices guide to cultural ecotourism, an emerging project to develop a Coastal Guardian high school curriculum that encourages First Nations youth to pursue careers in resource monitoring and stewardship, and the campaign to keep oil tankers out of the Great Bear Rainforest.. Joint initiatives include the
Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative is an alliance of First Nations on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii. The Coastal First Nations include Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk Nation, Gitga’at, Haisla, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate, and Council of the Haida Nation. Lax Kw'alaams is an associate member of the Coastal First Nations.
The Nanwakolas Council is comprised of eight member First Nations whose traditional territories are located in the southern portions of the Great Bear Rainforest. Nanwakolas serves as the vehicle through which the member First Nations regionally pursue land and marine resource planning and management and resource-based economic development activities.