Heiltsuk Culturally Modified Tree Database and Management System

Project Description
Heiltsuk First Nation will receive $66,000 over two years to develop a database process for recording, tracking, managing cultural resources. Specifically this project will utilize spatial analysis in GIS to improve understanding of location and importance of culturally-modified trees distributed throughout Heilstuk Traditional Territory.
Historically, First Nations people would mark or alter trees in the forest by activities such as peeling bark to make cedar hats, or by carving to build canoes or totem poles. These features are all known as Culturally Modified Trees (CMT). The SFI standard and provincial legislation protect these resources. A common understanding and recognition of these resources will help the First Nations people work with industry, government and others to conserve these features. This proposal will enable the Heiltsuk to manage these resources in a modern setting, utilizing modern database tools and building upon existing data while improving access and use of the information within the community and for forest management activities. The project supports several elements of the SFI Forest Certification standard, especially those related to Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value, support of training for forest professionals, and managing lands that are ecologically, geographically, or culturally important in a manner that takes into account their unique qualities.
Project Partners
The Heiltsuk First Nation will partner with International Forest Products Ltd., as well as Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations- North Island- Central Coast District.
Project Resources
Project Overview PDF
About Heiltsuk First Nation
The Heiltsuk First Nation live in the island village of Bella Bella in British Columbia, Canada. Its strategic location on the Inside Passage makes it the major transportation hub fo rthe Central Coast of BC. Archaeological sites have determined that the Heiltsuk-speaking people have inhabited this area for at least 9,000 years. The Heiltsuk were largely dependent on resources found in the ocean and had well-developed methods of hunting, fishing, gathering and trading. Tree use was a major component of virtually every aspect of traditional aboriginal life in Coast British Columbia, where more than a dozen species of tree were used in daily life.