The Pacheedaht First Nation have been stewards for territory which now encompasses the area Port Renfrew resides on.
In 1988, without consultation or any sort of recognition, the Canadian government stole a beach known as ?A:?b?e:?s amongst the Pacheedaht Peoples and made it a part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
This area is now known by its colonial name, Middle Beach.
In addition to stealing this land, Canada set up regulations and systems which would further prohibit the Pacheedaht Peoples from using the land or managing and harvesting its resources.
On Wednesday, November 15th, Parks Canada met with leaders of the Pacheedaht First Nation and both parties signed an agreement which returns the use of ?A:?b?e:?s back to its original stewards.
“Today is an important day, as once again Pacheedaht will be able to take care of and use our lands at Middle Beach,” said Jeff Jones, Chief of the Pacheedaht First Nation.
“For many years we have been separated from these lands and this agreement with Parks Canada represents an important step forward while we finalize our Treaty.”
“We thank Parks Canada for working with us to find a way to recognize our responsibilities to these important lands until ownership of them come back to us under Treaty,” Jones continued.
According to the government, this negotiation which has to do with the Nations fundamental treaty rights has been in the works since 1996.
Parks Canada oversees more than 90% of federal lands, nearly all of which have been traditionally used and cared for by Indigenous Peoples.
Now, Parks Canada say they are actively working toward returning stewardship of some of the ancestral lands and waters to the Peoples whom they were separated from.