B.C. transfers 312 hectares of land on Vancouver Island to Lyackson First Nation and Cowichan Tribes

Two Vancouver Island First Nations signed an incremental treaty agreement with the province that will see a 312-hectare parcel of land transferred. 

The Lyackson First Nation and Cowichan Tribes will share the land, located near Skutz Falls about eight kilometres southeast of Lake Cowichan. The province recently purchased the private forestry land parcel, valued at approximately $8.55 million, from Mosaic Forest Management.

“We’ve been misplaced for four generations and this is the time for us to start moving forward,” Lyackson First Nation Chief Pahalicktun said Sunday.

Pahalicktun says has advocated for land for about 30 years — following in the footsteps of many elders and previous council members. 

Lyackson’s council plans to create housing and other facilities, including a band office, gathering places and a cemetery. 

Image taken from above shows forest, mountains, and a river running thruogh.
Drone footage shows the land near Skutz Falls Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. (Dean Stoltz/Chek News)

Lyackson currently has a reserve on the remote Valdes Island, a place B.C. Premier David Eby says does not serve them well as it is without electricity, sewage, running water or a ferry service. 

“Lyackson and Cowichan Tribes both can build that community that they’re looking for,” Eby said at a Saturday morning announcement in the Skutz Falls parking lot.  

“[They] can realize the vision of life with dignity, celebration, family, tradition, that was long denied.” 

‘We are coming home’

People from the Cowichan Tribes lived for generations on the land being transferred, Chief Cindy Daniels said at the announcement on Saturday. 

Daniels said it was a “place of abundance,” used for fishing, hunting, and gathering. 

“With colonization, boundaries were created across this region. Our people were displaced,” said Daniels. “Now, with this interim treaty agreement, we are coming home.” 

She said the Nation’s reserve land is in areas prone to flooding and subject to other environmental and cultural sensitivities — and are in need of land to keep up with the need for housing from members. 

The Lyackson First Nation and Cowichan Tribes plan to divide the land and add it to their respective reserves after the land transfer takes place. 

Pahalicktun hopes this land transfer sets the tone for other Nations across the province. 

“It’s possible for our other relatives in British Columbia to come to this conclusion with their respective MLAs,” he said.


Posted in CBC