B.C. government will honour Indigenous declaration to defer old-growth logging in Fairy Creek and Central Walbran

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      There appears to be a ceasefire of sorts in the latest war of the woods in B.C.

      It came about as a result of the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration by elected and hereditary leaders of the Dididaht, Huu-ay-aht, and Pacheedaht First Nations on Vancouver Island.

      They declared this morning that it's time for their "principles, authority and responsibilities to be respected so that we can work for win-win stewardship solutions to heal our lands, our waters and our people for the benefit of our current and future generations".

      To do this, they called for a two-year moratorium on cutting down old-growth trees in the Fairy Creek and Central Walbran areas on southern Vancouver Island.

      Premier John Horgan said that the government will honour the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration. 

      "Our government is committed to reconciliation," Horgan said. "True reconciliation means meaningful partnerships. I know the three Nations are ready to enter into these discussions in a spirit of good faith, and with a goal of achieving a mutually satisfactory resolution. Our government is as well.”

      Teal-Jones Group, which has a provincial licence to harvest trees, is also going to abide by the declaration.

      The Rainforest Flying Squad has been among those engaging in peaceful civil disobedience to stop the harvesting of ancient trees in the Fairy Creek area.

      In a statement, it said that the premier's announcement "does nothing to address the systemic crisis in the way our forests are managed".

      "Premier Horgan must act rapidly to defer logging across 1.3 million hectares of at-risk old growth identified by the Sierra Club of BC," the group stated. "The province must come to the table with conservation financing and economic alternatives for First Nations, and create a just transition to a second growth industry.

      "Until these things happen, at the invitation of Elder Bill Jones, the Rainforest Flying Squad will continue to stand our ground to defence our last ancient forests."

      More than 150 people have been arrested in the protests so far. The movement to save old-growth trees in the area received a boost on June 3 when actor Mark Ruffalo urged his followers to support the blockade and sign a petition.