Dear Band Members,

We are very happy to introduce you to the 31st weekly newsletter of Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band!

With this newsletter, we aim to keep all our Band members informed about the latest happenings, events, and news within the community.   We are distributing this newsletter by email, so please encourage everyone to get their email address into   manager@wpcib.com, so they can be added to the list.
 
Weekly Updates - September 8, 2017
First Nation Leadership Council News Releas
Time to Ground Open Net-Pen Fish Farms

Posted by UBCIC on September 01, 2017 

(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver - August 31, 2017) BC must begin its transition from dangerously reckless open net-pen fish farms to the safety of land-based closed containment aquaculture. 

Time and time again First Nations in BC have warned the federal and provincial governments of the potentially devastating impacts open net-pen aquaculture poses to not only wild aquatic species but to Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities’ health, culture and economies.

Atlantic salmon fish farms use outdated technology to contain hundreds of thousands of fish in extremely confined conditions, effectively transferring the economic burden of managing fish waste to the environment, and surrounding communities.

Due to the reckless positioning of fish farms in the previously pristine waters of BC’s coastal waters, these sites have become focal points for salmon related diseases and viruses, including Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI), Piscine Reo-Virus (PRV), for hazardous levels of parasitic sea-lice, impacting wild migratory juvenile salmon, and for unnatural levels of predation, targeting vulnerable herring stocks. Further, the siting of these farms has never respected nor considered the out-migratory routes of wild salmon smolts which pass through these focal, at this stage salmon are at their most vulnerable and have been the most impacted by these farms.

This industry continues to operate under archaic provisions allowing environmental polluters to pass their economic burden onto the environment and surrounding communities.

It is time for the aquaculture industry and the governments of Canada and BC to adopt the notable advancements the industry has seen in other parts of the world. Closed containment, land-based aquaculture is a viable, ethical and economically beneficial alternative, that in exchange for the political will and initial investment will provide environmental safeguards, economic prosperity and an abundant food source for our future generations.

With historically low returns, our surviving salmon stocks are bordering on extinction. This represents an unacceptable loss to First Nations in BC. Salmon represents a significant aspect of many First Nations’ cultures, economies and are a critical food source for our communities and families.

The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
 
Whispering Pines Clinton Indian Band: Working with Shuswap Nation Chiefs Council 

As Chief of the Whispering Pines / Clinton Indian Band (WPCIB), Chief Tresierra (as well as former WPCIB Chiefs) takes part in the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council - Chief’s Council. While the WPCIB is responsible for its own governance and set of actions and priorities of the nation, the WPCIB has and remains committed to working with its relatives and neighboring nations on a host of matters of collective interest, including Aboriginal Title and rights, recognition and enforcement, fisheries, lands and resources matters, education, social and economic development. This Council, which holds scheduled meetings on the first Wednesday of each month, is composed of the Chiefs of the nine member Bands, namely:
  • Adams Lake Indian Band
  • Bonaparte Indian Band
  • Neskonlith Indian Band
  • Shuswap Indian Band
  • Simpcw First Nation
  • Skeetchestn Indian Band
  • Splatsín First Nation
  • Tk’emlúps Indian Band
  • Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band
The Council of Chiefs is responsible for directing the political and administrative goal of the Tribal Council, for overall planning and policy setting and, in particular, for the financial management of the fiscal resources and assets of the Tribal Council for the benefit of all member communities.

The Council of Chiefs also addresses concern of a national nature, both as generated from their individual constituencies or from provincial or national First Nations bodies.

Each Chief has the responsibility for communicating on Tribal Council business back to the his/her own community.
Chief Tresierra states, the “WPCIB has always attempted to work on a collective basis with our Secwepemc relatives. We live in exciting times with rapid change and new opportunities arising for all of the Secwepemc nations. From my perspective, it is important to recognize and work hard to meet the all of the nation’s collective interests while ensuring that individual nation’s needs and priorities are met and respected.”
 
 
Forget Smokey the Bear: How First Nation fire wisdom is key to megafire prevention

Fire prevention policies of the past have created conditions for
 today's out-of-control blazes, experts say
By Yvette Brend, CBC News Posted: Jul 15, 2017 Reprinted by WPCIB)

Annie Kruger was the last firekeeper appointed by her people, say family. Her granddaughter is in training to take over, but has more to learn yet, and the tradition tapered off with Kruger's death. The grandchildren of Annie Kruger remember her lighting an Export A Green cigarette, throwing on her logger's jacket and heading out to set fires near Penticton, B.C.

Before she died she was a firekeeper — as were generations before her in the Okanagan region of the province — and it was her job to use flames to purify the land by setting fire to berry bushes, hillsides and even mountains to renew growth and clear brush and create natural fireguards.

Annie Kruger was a firekeeper in a long line of people who were trained to use fire to take care of the land. "Our family have been firekeepers for thousands of years," said Pierre Kruger, Annie's son. Kruger cited several big fires he said his family started hundreds of years ago when lines of  Kou-Skelowh people walked beating drums to warn wildlife before setting fire to what's now called Sylix territory. "We warned the birds and four-leggeds," he said. "My mother taught us every fire is like a snowflake — no two are alike." Annie kept up the tradition until she died in 2003.

By then, authorities had long cracked down on the practice, pushing fire prevention hard starting in the 1930s, in full-force after 1945. Fire became bad, something to battle or ban. Remember Smokey, the iconic bear who doused fire near forests?


A vintage Smokey the Bear poster from 1963. Fire prevention campaigns began in the 1930s and discouraged any fire in the forest. Fire was touted as bad for all wildlife and trees. (U.S. Forest Service)

Fire prevention experts fear that those policies, launched decades ago, unwittingly created conditions that are now feeding the out-of-control wildfires plaguing California and Alberta — and, in recent weeks, some 240 blazes in B.C. Experts are urging provinces to adopt more Indigenous burning practices because the long crackdown on constructive burning has built up fodder for fires.

Why burning curbs megafires?

In North America, fire suppression became the prevalent way of handling fire over the past century, to protect property, ranch lands and people. But the practice left dead trees, forest litter and aging forests to become prone to disease, such as pine beetle infestations, fostering the perfect ignition material for spot fires to spread and converge, experts say.

"It's a setup for huge fires," says Mark Heathcott, a fire expert who managed Parks Canada's controlled burns for more than 20 years. When smaller fires merge, they can create megafires so intense and so fast, they are unstoppable.
 

One of hundreds of spot fires dotting an eight-hectare ranch after a crowning forest fire jumped the Fraser River near Quesnel, B.C., on the July 8-9 weekend. (Wylie Bystedt)
 
These kind of fires are becoming more common in the U.S. — and Canada has seen a few, as well. In 2003, a lightning strike in the Okanagan started a fire that burned 25,000 hectares and forced 27,000 people from their homes near Peachland and Kelowna, B.C. In 2011, a forest fire raged into Slave Lake, Alta., forcing the evacuation of 7,000 people.

Then in 2016, the monster Fort McMurray fire led to the evacuation of the city of 88,000, making it the largest fire in Alberta history. In California, four million hectares burned in 2015, setting records and sparking fire experts to blame overzealous firefighting, arguing the land needs some fire.

Land craves fire

In recent years, science has emerged to prove certain lands have always had fire. Researchers examining fire-scarred trees in western Canada discovered that boreal forests actually evolved in places like B.C.'s interior and parts of Alberta because they were scorched to the ground every 75 to 100 years in a patchwork pattern, Heathcott said.

"Forests have to be burnt to regenerate," he said. "It's tough to suppress that forever." The benefits of prescribed burning are recognized by B.C. officials.
 

A massive controlled burn northwest of 100 Mile House, B.C., on July 13. (Sam Martin)
 
The province organized burns this spring near Mayfield Lake, south of Williams Lake, as part of the Ecosystem Restoration Program started in 2008 to use controlled fires to "restore natural grassland, historically renewed through low-intensity ground fires," according to a news release.

The province approved up to $75,000 for 22 First Nations groups to burn off up to 28 hectares in 2016-17. But it's not enough, experts say. In B.C., about 4,000-5,000 hectares are burned in prescribed fires in a year. "That's like a fart in a high wind," says fire ecologist Don Gayton of Summerland, B.C.

B.C. used to burn

How much more is needed? "How big is B.C.? That's how much should burn every 100 years," said Heathcott, who estimates that in every century prior to this one, most of our 95-million-hectare province burned. It's not realistic to set fires on that scale in the 21st century, given that many forested areas are now in proximity to populated centres. And nobody is advocating going back in time, but proponents like Heathcott say say more burning is needed.

Spot fires burned tree roots on a ranch near Quesnel, B.C. The results of prescribed burning should be more controlled and less intense. If fire burns out roots it can cause soil sterilization and erosion. In 2016, the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources conducted 59 controlled burns, described as "valuable training" for staff. The exercises depended on weather, and often got called off. Officials are wary of the legal risk of an escaped fire, and few have long-term experience wrangling flame.

Fire misunderstood

So, while prescribed burning is no longer a hanging offence like it was in the 1880s, it's still underutilized, say proponents. A handful of First Nations groups are working to revive the lost practice of fire-keeping, but it's slow, said Pierre Kruger. "We have to re-educate people. None of our families' fires ever got away, but people don't understand fire anymore. "He says his grandmother's view of the megafires of today would be simple: people forgot to use fire.

Aboriginal Skills Employment And Training of the Central Interior


Shuswap Nation Tribal Council Job Posting

2017 Open Times for the Mild & Upper Fraser River Frist Nation Fisheries- Week 27
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