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 contact 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

World Maritime Day – Sept. 24

Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet

‘Water Quality Advisory’ lifted for Prince Rupert

Some Prince Rupert residents are still under a ‘Boil Water Notice’

Liberals and Greens yet to announce North Coast candidates

North Coast candidates have until two weeks before the election to name contenders

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Transgender B.C. brothers debut fantasy novel as author duo Vincent Hunter

‘Transgender people are being misrepresented in popular fiction and media, and we aim to change that’

Most Read