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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Culturally modified tree (CMT) management in Nlaka’pamux territory : shaping First Nations participation through consultation Perreault, Pamela A.

Abstract

First Nations people have collected life-sustaining materials provided by the forests of British Columbia since time immemorial. In particular, evidence of collection activities from cedar ()is found in the form of culturally modified trees (CMTs). Today, CMTs are considered archaeological resources because of their value as visible indicators of past forest use. Therefore, under provincial legislation (British Columbia Heritage Conservation Act, and the Forest Practices Code Act), they are managed during forest development planning. The value of CMTs extends beyond their contribution to the archaeological record, however, to include: a) legal evidence of Aboriginal rights and title and b) symbols of cultural practices centered around the respect for, and understanding of, people's relationship with nature. This thesis uses a case study to assess the consultation process and CMT management procedures utilized by the Ministry of Forests to identify Aboriginal interests on landscape and avoid unjustifiable infringement of Aboriginal rights. The objectives of the case study are to identify factors that influence the consultation process, determine CMT significance and expected management outcomes and finally, to evaluate CMT management procedures in the case study area. The case study is located in the Fraser Canyon of British Columbia, the traditional territory of the Nlaka'pamux people. Data collection involved interviews, field research that involved participant observation of consultation processes and reviews of technical documents, relevant policy and case law. The findings of the case study show that limited resources, both financial and social lead to a lack of capacity to determine CMT significance and reduce the effectiveness of the consultation process. The study also showed that the exercise of determining CMT significance was an important educational process for the whole community and revitalized interest in cultural practices and traditions amongst the younger generations. However, CMT management procedures as they were implemented in the South Ainslie watershed were not effective in maintaining the cultural significance of CMT sites. Local First Nations indicated that CMT sites were considered highly significant to the communities because of their educational and economic values. However, the harvesting prescriptions implemented during CMT management procedures destroyed both the context and integrity of the sites, thus diminishing or eliminating the educational and economic values that had been assigned the sites prior to harvesting. Therefore, while the consultation process utilized during CMT management procedures provided benefits to the First Nation communities in the form of employment and training opportunities, the forest development planning process still resulted in a landscape that was stripped of cultural context and significance. These results indicate that further investigation into the effectiveness of consultation in the management of resources that have traditionally been governed and utilized by First Nations peoples is needed.

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