Sustainable Resource Management
The Hupacasath have, since time immemorial, managed their lands and resources sustainability. If they had not there would not have been as many fish and wildlife and as much forest and other resources at contact as there had been 8,000 years previously.
The concept of sustainable resource management is based on the following basic principles:
Families and community come first. Healthy people means a growing population of well educated individuals who have successful jobs and raise healthy families, no different from other Canadians. This means Hupacasath people now and in the future who will have access to:
- Adequate health care
- High levels of education and training
- Access to housing for the people in the community but also so people can move back to Port Alberni
- Community services including information, communications, hydro, roads, etc
- Lands sufficient for residential, commercial, recreation, industrial and most importantly for continuing the Hupacasath way of life in using the lands and resources
Hupacasath speak a dialect of the Wakashan language, which they share with other Nuu-chah-nulth people. Their traditions are based strongly on the land of their ancestors and their governance system is based on the oral history passed down from preceding generations. While jobs and an economy are important, sustaining the distinct lifestyle of the Hupacasath is also vitally important.
This will involve:
- Hupacasath exerting governance over their entire traditional territory and the values that are important for their way of life. This governance will include a management system which is holistic in its approach and not just area by area thereby ensuring all Hupacasath values and resources are protected in a sustainable manner.
- Ensure that the Hupacasath have access to the fish, animals, birds and plants for food, medicines and other cultural uses from throughout their traditional territory
- Protection of spiritual areas where the Hupacasath can practice and pass on their culture to the next generation
- Protection of trails, cabins and other areas that are still used and are links to traditional practices
- Repatriation of areas for trapping and angling which are part of the traditional way of life
- Protection of fish, wildlife and their habitat as well as forests that are central to Hupacasath culture as well a healthy environment
This means that there must be healthy populations of all the animals, birds, fish, plants and the eco-systems that these species depend on for their survival and health including:
Protecting water and riparian zones that are important for fish and wildlife
Protecting areas identified by the Hupacasath as “Protected Areas”
Ensuring all fish and wildlife and their habitat are protected from industrial development and urban growth
Enhancing and reclaiming forests, lakes, rivers and creeks that have been damaged by development and reclaiming fish and wildlife habitat
The Hupacasath people need jobs and economic development opportunities to support themselves, their families and community as documented in the Hupacasath Economic Development Strategy. While the Hupacasath are willing to share the wealth within their territory they will be involved and gain a fair share of the resources and revenues that come from their land and resources.
Be fully employed with jobs paying at least to the average within the Port Alberni area
Have access to resource tenures and economic development opportunities to build an economic base within the community
Share in the revenues from the wealth of resources within the traditional territory
Strong Governance System
A strong governance system is one that, through community input and concisely written policy, creates an environment in which consistent and high quality decisions are made. Internally, a strong governance system creates trust between the leadership and community, prevents and resolves conflict, increases community participation, and ensures accountability. Strong governance and the pursuit of economic and social development go hand in hand. Therefore, externally, the strength of a governance system will determine the pace and success of management and development endeavors pursued by the First Nation. Hupacasath have committed to the development of a strong governance system and are actively working on a new policy governance manual.