Cedar logs in a working cutblock at Collison Point/St’alaa Kun. (Andrew Hudson photo)

Haida artist and protesters fight to protect cedar forest in Masset, court decision looms

Robert Davidson filed an affidavit seeking to stop the cutting, while protesters form blockade

A court decision is expected on Thursday with regards to the future of a planned logging project outside of Masset.

Haida artist Robert Davidson filed an affidavit in B.C. Supreme Court against O’Brien and Fuerst Logging, seeking to halt progression of the logging of a growth of cedar trees which is set to take place. The logging site is located only several hundred metres away from many residences.

At the same time as Davidson was presenting his evidence, O’Brien and Fuerst were also in court seeking an injunction against protesters who had established a blockade at the site that was set to be logged, known as the Blue Jackets area. The protesters were represented by independent legal counsel at the time, and since then their case has drawn the increased attention of the Council of the Haida Nation. CHN members are expected to be present at the site when the court decision is announced.

READ MORE: Logging protest at Collison Point

Davidson spoke about his reasons for filing the affidavit, which he says are not meant as disparaging toward the logging industry. “I feel for the loggers, if there’s no more trees there’s no more jobs for them,” Davidson said. “I just wish that we could have the same weight in our concerns as the logging companies. It’s the system that has to be reworked.”

Robert Davidson has carved with cedar from the area for decades, including the tree he used for the first totem pole raised on Haida Gwaii in more than 100 years. (Kevin Eastwood photo)

The Blue Jackets area is of special importance to Davidson, and Haida culture, as it is the place where his father, Claude Davidson, found the tree that Davidson used to carve the most famous totem pole in Old Massett. The 1969 pole raising, a story detailed in a pair of documentaries out this year, Now Is The Time and Haida Modern, was the first pole raised on the islands in more than 100 years, sparking a renewal of Haida art and culture. A major cut of trees in the area could wipe out much of the rich supply that Haida carvers continue to use to this day.

“I’m very concerned that there seems to be no thought about the future,” Davidson said. “If we don’t have the material, we can’t carry on with our culture.”

“I’m concerned that the accessible cedar at Blue Jackets won’t be available to my children, my grandchildren and to future generations of carvers from Old Massett,” Davidson wrote in his affidavit.

READ MORE: Haida Modern set to premiere at Vancouver International Film Festival next month

All parties involved will assess their options going forward following Thursday’s decision.


Alex Kurial | Journalist
Alex Kurial 
Send Alex email
Like the Haida Gwaii Observer on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

CityWest and IBEW Local 213 consolidate unions

Prince Rupert’s telecommunications company moves forward under one banner

Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society inaugural market hopes to add to the community

The market took place at the Git Lach M’oon hall over the weekend

Council Briefs: Cunningham puts “resident rate” for transportation on table

Councillor Adey concerned over RCMP’s lack of communication with public

Skeena-Bulkley Valley once again goes NDP

Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach set to follow in Nathan Cullen’s footsteps

Security guard bitten, punched by patient at Terrace hospital

Violent incident one of many in Northwest B.C., nurses union says

Play-by-play: Bachrach new MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, all 219 polls reported

Bachrach beats Conservative candidate Claire Rattée by more than 3,000

‘Havoc and chaos:’ Alberta separatist group gains support as Liberals re-elected

The idea is getting interest from people in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and parts of British Columbia

Feds finally decriminalizing drugs possible – but it’s up to Jagmeet Singh, expert says

National pharmacare was one of Singh’s most highly-touted platform policies

In the news: Wexit, Brexit and Trump sparks outrage

There’s been a surge of support for an Alberta separatist group

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

Most Read