Tahltan Territory has been under a state of emergency since early August with approximately 300 evacuees forced to relocate to areas throughout BC and the Yukon. The fires have already destroyed nearly thirty homes in Telegraph Creek, many cultural structures, graveyards, and continue to threaten further properties and areas of cultural significance.
According to President Day, “Animals have been forced to rapidly flee and are demonstrating abnormal behaviors. Several bears and ungulates have been seen with burned fur. Roadkill on our highways has increased significantly as the wildlife escape the smoke and their burning habitats.”
The Tahltan Central Government is concerned about the safety of all hunters and is respectfully asking resident hunters and others to refrain from hunting throughout Tahltan Territory until such a time that the state of emergency has been lifted, the fires are contained, and the damage to the region’s wildlife can be properly assessed. Many of the local Tahltan families and hunters will refrain from hunting and are encouraging others to do the same. The Tahltan homelands encompass BC’s Wildlife Management Units 6-19 to 26 and 7-52 respectively.
President Day’s letter to the Province states: “The Tahltan Nation is requesting that the Province support our position by formalizing a temporary hunting ban within Tahltan Territory for this hunting season. Doing so will demonstrate your government’s respect for our devastated communities, wildlife and territory. We need unprecedented help and collaboration following the worst disaster in modern-day Tahltan history; a disaster that continues as you read this letter.”
The Tahltan Nation extends a heartfelt appreciation to all those individuals and partners – across the region and beyond – who have stepped up to assist them and make donations through this difficult time. The Tahltan Central Government, Tahltan Band and Iskut Band would also like to collectively thank everyone helping with the firefighting efforts and those assisting all the evacuees.
For more information or to make donations to the Telegraph Creek Fire Relief Fund, please contact:
Calvin Carlick, Executive Director