It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the Pacheedaht land deal with B.C. Hydro was announced on National Aboriginal Day – and also the longest day of the year.
After all for thousands of years, the Pacheedaht called Jordan River (or Diitiida) home – the place of their origin.
It was, as anthropologist Kevin Neary explained, a great international market where First Nations from the Fraser River, Vancouver Island and Washington State would converge to exchange and sell goods.
Four-hundred years ago, Europeans discovered the Pacific coast of Canada.
Over the years every action by colonial governments, by settlers – land grabs, transmission of infectious disease, distribution of alcohol, outright slaughter, the Indian Act, residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, etc. – was designed to marginalize, to strip Indigenous peoples of their languages, culture, identity and their connection to the land and their history.
The Pacheedaht lost the use of Jordan
River in the 1800s when a reserve commissioner came along and placed the First Nation and the neighbouring Ditidaht on small reserves.
The process further diminished the First Nations and opened the natural resources of the area to settlers.
B.C. Hydro’s decision to sell the land to the Pacheedaht is a gesture of reconciliation and a stepping stone to action; it should imply expectations and obligations.
Part of this land acknowledgment is to show respect for the people who have lived on these lands since time immemorial.
But with that respect comes expectations to
the Pacheedaht to be good shepherds of the land, and use it wisely for all to enjoy. It’s a sentiment we believe that will come to fruition.
“This is profoundly important to both the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht,” said Pacheedaht chief Jeff Jones.
“The Pacheedaht has a lot to celebrate, this is our elders’ dream to reclaim these lands.”
And with those words, we believe the Jordon River area lands and the future of the Pacheedaht are in good hands.