B.C. entered Phase 3 of its restart plan on June 24, 2020 allowing people to take part in ‘smart, safe, and respectful’ travel within the province. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. reopening travel not sitting well with several First Nations

A number of safety conditions have yet to be met Indigenous leaders maintain

The B.C. Government’s proclamation allowing visitors to now travel within the province is not sitting well with several First Nations who maintain Indigenous lives are being put at risk.

The Heiltsuk, Tsilhqot’in and Nuu-chah-nulth Nations have pledged to support each other’s efforts to restrict travel in their respective territories until safety conditions are met, according to a news release issued June 24.

President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in Port Alberni, Dr. Judith Sayers said they have not given their consent to open up the province.

“We will do what we need to in order to protect our people, and if there is an impasse, we need to talk,” she stated. “For us, it is people before economics.”

Read More: COVID-19: B.C. ready for in-province travel, John Horgan says

Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation (Bella Bella) Marilyn Slett said they are still waiting for basic safety measures and information sharing while B.C. moves into Phase 3 of opening the province to travel and tourism.

Those measures, Sayers and Slett said, include the sharing of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases to Indigenous governments, screening non-residents and providing culturally-safe contract tracing teams.

Because there are only two rapid testing kits for B.C. Indigenous communities, Sayers and Slett added rapid testing must also be prioritized for Indigenous and remote communities.

In B.C.’s central Interior west of Williams Lake, Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse said the Tsilhqot’in National Government supports the positions taken by Nuu-chah-nulth and Heiltsuk.

“We have also restricted access to our communities to varying degrees throughout this crisis,” Alphonse noted.

“Our priority is to protect our elders and our people, and this work is made much more difficult by B.C.’s refusal to provide case information sharing, screening, rapid testing and culturally-safe contact tracing. Our nations will stand together to keep our people and communities safe.”

By law, international travellers returning to B.C. continue to be required to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusFirst Nationstravel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

Carmi Elementary students voted through CIVIX Students Vote. (Lesley Evans photo)
Penticton students have their say in B.C. election

Twelve schools, including Carmi Elementary participated in Student Vote

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Members of Summerland council and municipal staff were present on Oct. 22 to officially open the expanded Summerland landfill facility. From left are manager of environmental services Candace Pilling, Coun. Erin Carlson, Coun. Marty Van Alphen, acting mayor Doug Holmes, Coun. Richard Barkwill and Coun. Erin Trainer. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Changes made to entrance of Summerland landfill

Upgrades came at cost of $500,000

A truck and trailer left Reservoir Road north of Penticton earlier on Oct. 23. (Facebook)
UPDATE: Highway 3 closed east of Osoyoos

Police have re-opened Highway 33 at Idabel Lake

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Voters are saying they felt safe voting in person despite the current pandemic. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Central Okanagan voters talk about their pandemic election experience

Despite an election taking place during COVID-19, residents said they felt safe voting in person

Efforts to replace the aging Rutland Middle School have been put off by another year by the ministry of education. (File photo)
Education ministry won’t replace Central Okanagan school anytime soon

New Westside Secondary top priority for ministry of education

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is planning to implement transit service in the West Bench area in September, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Regional district to bring transit service to West Bench in 2021

Residents of area near Penticton will be consulted before plans are finalized

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

Most Read