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November 16th 2023
The federal government and the Pacheedaht First Nation celebrated an agreement Wednesday to return stewardship control over territory taken without permission to create B.C.’s world-renowned Pacific Rim National Park.
Parks Canada and the Pacheedaht signed a deal returning land use and stewardship rights for a 2.6-hectare stretch of Middle Beach as a step in the treaty settlement process.
In 1988, Canada took the key shoreline tract connecting the Pacheedaht’s two main reserves near Port Renfrew without formal consultation or recognition of the First Nation’s rights to govern its traditional territory for the national park — 50,000 hectares of land and ocean along western Vancouver Island in the traditional territories of nine Nuu-chah-nulth Nations.
The park regulations also prohibited the Pacheedaht from managing or harvesting resources.
Pacheedaht Chief Jeff Jones called the beautiful beach bridging the nation’s two main reserves the community’s “missing link.”
The agreement is an important step toward restoring care and use of lands at Middle Beach to the nation before a treaty with the federal government is finalized, Jones said at a press conference.