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Haida matriarchs plan land occupation as fishing lodge reopens over objections

Haida Gwaii fishing lodges under fire for reopening
Haida Gwaii fishing lodges under fire for reopening

A group of Haida matriarchs say they plan to occupy two ancient villages on Haida Gwaii after a fishing lodge decided to reopen on the remote archipelago despite objections from
the First Nation.

In a statement, the matriarchs known as “daughters of the rivers” say the Queen Charlotte Lodge is reopening as a local state of emergency remains in effect over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Coronavirus: Haida Gwaii officials say they’ll turn back ferry visitors

They say they’re concerned that non-residents will expose local people to the novel coronavirus and with only two ventilators on Haida Gwaii, an outbreak would be devastating.

Phase 3 restart: Impact on Indigenous communities in B.C.
Phase 3 restart: Impact on Indigenous communities in B.C.

The matriarchs say they made the decision to peacefully occupy the lands with children, elders and other island residents following several community meetings.

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Read more: First Nations people have fared better than B.C. average in COVID-19 pandemic: report

Brian Clive, vice-president of sales and corporate development for the lodge, says it is fully complying with the orders and guidelines issued by the B.C. government, health authorities and
WorkSafeBC.

Earlier this week, Clive said the lodge plans to use a helicopter to bring guests directly to the lodge from the mainland.