Union of BC Indian Chiefs Supports 29 Hour Fast of the Musgamagw-Tsawataineuk Tribal Council

Media Advisory
February 12, 2010

(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, BC) – The Executive of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs will be participating in a 29 hour fast supporting the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council’s (MTTC) opposition to fish farm tenures in the Broughton Archipelago.

“There are 29 fish farm tenures in the territories of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk,” said Chief Bob Chamberlin, Chair of the MTTC and Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “The 29 hour fast reflects the 29 fish farm tenures in our territories.”

The fast will begin at 5:00 a.m. on Monday, February 15th at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (500 - 342 Water Street, Vancouver, Canada). The fast will end on February 16th, the day when Team Canada faces off with Team Norway in Men’s Ice Hockey.

The MTTC have extended an invitation to King Harald V of Norway to meet with the Chiefs of the MTTC and UBCIC during his time at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Chief Chamberlin stated “The Chiefs want to discuss with King Harald the conduct of certain Norwegian Fish Farm Companies and how their business operations are not in accodance with the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which the Norwegian Government voting Yes to at the UN General Assembly.”

Date: Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
Place: Union of BC Indian Chiefs Office, Suite 500 - 342 Water Street, Vancouver BC
Time: 10:00 AM
Who: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President – UBCIC; Chief Willie Charlie, Vice-President – UBCIC; Chief Bob Chamberlin, Secretary-Treasurer – UBCIC; Hereditary Chiefs; and Friends


Media inquires:
Chief Bob Chamberlin
Office: 604-684-0231 Cell: 778-988-9282

BACKGROUNDER ATTACHED: MTTC Open Letter to King Harald V of Norway


February 10, 2010

King Harald V
The Royal Palace
Karl Johan Gate
Oslo, Norway

Your Excellency:

As Chief of Kwicksutaineuk/Ah-Kwa-Mish First Nation and Chair of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council, I once again write to you to Humbly and Respectfully request a audience with yourself and the Chiefs of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council and Hereditary Chiefs during your time in Vancouver, BC during the XLIV Olympics.

The Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council represents the Kwicksutaineuk/ Ah-Kwa-Mish First Nation; Dzawada'enuxw First Nation; Gwawaenuk Tribe; Namgis First Nation, who support each other politically, traditionally and historically.

We would like the opportunity to discuss with you our collective concerns in relationship to the Norwegian Aquaculture Companies, Marine Harvest and Cermaq, and how they conduct business within our Traditional Territories.

What I think is important and of special note to your Royal Highness is that these companies are operating in opposition to the Government of Norway’s support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).

The Articles of Note from the UNDRIP are as follows;

Article 25
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

Article 26
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources, which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 27
States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate in this process.

Article 29
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination.

Article 32
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.

During the Spring of 2009 I visited Oslo, Norway and attended the Shareholders AGM of Marine Harvest and Cermaq and presented a document which gave expression to each of the items noted above. I informed the Shareholders of their contradictory actions/conduct as it relates to the UNDRIP and urged them to embrace the direction presented of the Musgamagw-Tsawataineuk Peoples.

If there was no will to embrace this direction, I suggested they inform the Norwegian Government and the People of Norway of their disregard for International Declarations made by the Government of Norway and work to have Norway to change it’s Vote at the UN accordingly.

All we ask for is that the river systems and Inlets which produce our Wild Salmon that has sustained the Musgamagw-Tsawataineuk people since the beginning of time, be shown the very same respect the Norwegian Government demonstrates in the safeguarding the Wild Salmon of Norway by the establishment of the of the National Salmon Fjords.

I appreciate this request is of short notice but I sincerely hope you can understand the urgency of the Musgamagw-Tsawataineuk People to meet with you. As Royal Representative of the Norwegian People I hope you can offer the Norwegian people, Industry and Government guidance in this International matter and establish a respectful relationship with the First Nations with whom I am representing.


Bob Chamberlin, Chair
Musgamagw-Tsawataineuk Tribal Council

Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister, Norway
Åse Aulie Michelet, CEO, Marine Harvest
Mr. Tore Valderhaug, CEO, Cermaq


UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.