Revitalizing Haíɫzaqv Law for Land, Air and Water: Telling the RELAW Story

Heiltsuk Tribal Council, Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department, West Coast Environmental Law,

The Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) Tribal Council is engaged in many governance building processes to uphold their jurisdiction over their territory, as their ancestors have done for the past 14,000 years. The work of marine governance is supported by the staff at the Haíɫzaqv Integrated Resource Management Department. In September 2017 the Haíɫzaqv began working on a RELAW (Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water) project with the goal to create legislation that will be enacted under the forthcoming Haíɫzaqv Constitution. Given the importance of the ocean in Haíɫzaqv society, leadership identified the need to have an Oceans Act rooted in their own ğvi̓las/laws.

Over the course of one year, the Haíɫzaqv RELAW team engaged in intensive research on Haíɫzaqv ğvi̓las/law and talked to many citizens to learn how to structure a written piece of legislation that can uphold Haíɫzaqv marine jurisdiction and governance practices. The working title for the Haíɫzaqv Nation Oceans Act is, H̓aíkilaxsi c̓isḷá w̓áw̓áx̌tusa gáyáqḷa qṇts dṃxsax̌v: Respecting and Taking Care of our Ocean Relatives. This work will be ongoing and extend beyond the RELAW Project.

Revitalizing Haíɫzaqv Law for Land, Air and Water: Telling the RELAW Story is a short booklet that describes the Haíɫzaqv RELAW journey, who was involved and what the outcomes were.

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Bella Bella and Vancouver
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