Land-Sea-People: Recognizing Connection in Marine and Land Planning

Members of the Haida Nation arrive at the raising of a new totem pole at Tlielang. Today the Nation is working to ensure its unique culture and the interconnectedness of its land, sea, and people are reflected in a new management plan.

The following article was adapted from a story originally published in the December issue of Haida Laas. It appears here courtesy of the Council of the Haida Nation

Gwaii Haanas is undoubtedly one of the most culturally and ecological significant places on Earth. Today, a new management plan for the region is being created that is as unique and interconnected as the place itself. Gwaii Haanas is managed cooperatively by the Council of the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada through the Archipelago Management Board (AMB). Direction for management of Gwaii Haanas is laid out in two separate plans, one for the sea and one for the land. Recognizing the interconnectedness of land, sea, and people in Gwaii Haanas, the AMB is in the process of developing a single integrated management plan. The plan will outline the next ten years of priorities and targets in the region.

A Haida technical  planning team has been working since 2014 to ensure that the “Land-Sea-People” management plan incorporates Haida priorities and perspectives. Haida oral traditions, ethics, and values will form the basis for decision making in the region. In addition, Haida language is used throughout the draft plan and traditional use information is informing management direction.

Draft versions of the plan have been reviewed by the Council of the Haida Nation elected representatives, hereditary chiefs, band councils, CHN stewardship staff, the Haida Marine Work Group and the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program. In addition, the AMB has sought advice from the Gwaii Haanas Advisory Committee (GHAC) and key stakeholders.

The next stage is drafting a zoning plan that will line up with key priorities and targets for Gwaii Haanas. The zoning process will lay out which activities, such as commercial and recreational fishing and tourism, are allowed and where. Traditional knowledge and cultural priorities of the Haida Nation are being used to develop the zoning plan and zoning will not affect traditional use in the area.

Community meetings in Gaaw Old Massett and HlGaagilda Skidegate are anticipated in the coming months in order to engage the community in the zoning process. The AMB is also meeting with key stakeholder groups and local community leaders to solicit feedback on the draft zoning plan. Once the full draft Land-Sea-People plan is complete, the AMB will seek input from the general public. The plan is expected to be completed in 2018.