The Anaham Indian Band of the Tsilqot'in Nation is currently blockading the Raven Lake road, a main access road into their unceded territory. On Wednesday Anaham Chief Leslie Stump held a press conference carried in part on CBC Vancouver's AM 690 Almanac program:
CBC: the band is demanding more jobs from the various silviculture and forestry projects going on within lands they claim. Is it fair for band members to get jobs at the expense of non band members that may be doing them now?
Chief Stump: "We've been here the longest. We've got seniority around here. Who owns the trees back here? Who owns the land back here? They've got nothing on paper saying we've ever turned anything over to them [BC]. That's good enough for me.
CBC: There were plenty of other aboriginal leaders present at that same news conference and the message was consistent: No compromise. Delgamuukw opened the door to aboriginal people having a greater say in jurisdiction and they want it. The main target of the blockade is the BC Forest Industry. Not everyone is sympathetic. Ross Haines runs a log hauling company out of Williams Lake. He's fed up with the government and really fed up with Indian blockades.
Haines: "The only thing we can do is make noise back and go out and put up our own blockades I guess. I think it's coming to the point where people are going too soon. There's a lotta people talking about it and I probably will be there to support it because I'm as frustrated and tired of hearing about it, as everybody is.
CBC: So it's hard to predict what might happen. Indian people believe Delgamuukw should have led to solid progress by now. Louise Mandel, one of the lawyers who argued the original BC Supreme Court case, said it [progress] is not happening.
L. Mandel: Governments have got to change. If there's going to be resources taken from these territories, there has to be consent to that. I think that what you're seeing here is just this overwhelming groundswell of frustration.
CBC: The Assistant Deputy Minister of Aboriginal Affairs is supposed to fly up on Monday for some meetings. Meanwhile Chief Stump says the barricade stays up until he sees some progress. In fact he'll create more barricades if nothing happens. The Province says it won't negotiate while the barricades are up. BC Forests Minister Dave Zirnhelt had this to say:
BC NDP Forests Minister Zirnhelt: We're watching it carefully. If there's a public safety issue we have to take that into account. The police are there and we are prepared to take action at the appropriate time. We will enforce the laws as necessary.
Chief Stump: We are eyeing other logging roads. We got two more major logging roads that's in Anaham traditional territory. They're hauling a lot of logs out of there right now. And we're eyeing them to shut them down.
CBC: So we'll have to see what happens Monday.
BC NDP Premier Glen Clark