As Gitga’at First Nation people we continue to practice our culture, language, resource management, and governance consistent with the ways we have for generations. Despite colonial pressures, we still feast, and we still use and teach our language. These are some of the ways we show the strength of our culture and traditions.
Our Adaawx (stories) remind us of our cultural foundation and our responsibilities to each other, to our territory, and to our land and marine resources. The Adaawx give us direction and hold us together as a Nation by weaving together stories of our relationship with all of nature in our territory. Our stories inform our actions as stewards and caretakers of our territory. Our stories speak to our strength.
From this place of strength, Gitga’at First Nation invites true reconciliation with the Crown and other Canadians. For us, this starts with an inherent and constitutionally protected right to practice and protect our culture, language, our lands and waters and every living thing in the territory that depends on a healthy environment – including us. This means the right to a strong voice in managing our natural resources, with their long term health at the forefront of our decisions. It is with this strength that we approach Treaty negotiations.
Taken together, this means we have the right set our course in a way that reflects our traditional values in a modern context. Strong and proud then. Strong and proud now. Our strength lives here as well.
In 1913, our leaders wrote a letter to the Crown rejecting the government’s process of setting out reserves. They recognized then, as now, that our lands are unsurrendered, and that we wouldn’t enter a process that didn’t begin by recognizing the full extent of our collective jurisdiction, including our legitimate Aboriginal Rights and Title, because the roots of our Strength are found deep within the lands and waters of our territory.
"Mr. Wetmore, Chairman Indian Commissioner. Unfortunately, we are not able to be all at home here in Hartley Bay in time to meet you as our work is not yet done at the Canneries, so I’ve decided to leave this note for you in case you visit our Village in our absence; therefore we hereby make the following statement in writing, which we trust you will consider same carefully the same as if we had a talk with you personally. We shall not consider or accept any offer from any one until our claim is settled by Justice, Our prayer is that our Title for our lands and unsurrendered lands be made clearer, recognized and acknowledged to us by both the Dominion and Provincial Governments, That is the vital point of our request or claim. We have no new request or new thing to state before you, but the same old claim demanding our Title be settled by Justice. Signed Head Chief Ambrose Robinson Aleck Moody John Anderson H.L. Clifton"