Canada- On the Land Project
March 21, 2004
I am a teacher from
Nova Scotia and I am traveling across Canada during the 2003-2004 school
year with my six-year-old daughter. We left home in July and Flat
Stanley caught up with us during the winter. We spent the winter months
in Ucluelet, B.C., eight kilometers south of the Long Beach Unit of
Pacific Rim National Park on the west side of Vancouver Island. This is
the traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. “Nu-chah-nulth”
means “along the mountains”. There are six First Nations represented
with twenty-two parcels of reserve land within the park, one of which is
inhabited- Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. The First Nations of the area
were not consulted when the park was established in the 1970’s. However,
there is increased first nations represented on the staff and the
position of First Nations Program Manager was established eight years
ago. Last year, the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail was opened and a totem will be
erected in the near future. Several Nuu-chah-nulth principles are
highlighted in the work of the park: “hishuk ish ts’awalk” (everything
is one or everything is interconnected); “himwitsa” (storytelling); and
The Long Beach Unit
of Pacific Rim National Park is within the Clayoquot Bioshpere Reserve.
It is the only rainforest in the world that is dominated by conifers.
Sea otters and abalone are species at risk. The sea otters have been
reintroduced. Studies show that they are the greatest predators on sea
urchins. Without the presence of sea otters, the urchins population
rises and in-turn impacts the kelp forests since the urchins eat kelp.
Without kelp, many other species are negatively affected.
April 13, 2004
Flat Stanley visited Haida Gwaii on April 5-9, 2004. Haida Gwaii is an
archipelago of 138 islands. It was formerly known as the Queen Charlotte
Islands. These islands are the home of the Haida nation for thousands of
years. It is now the site of Gwaii Haanas Nations Park Reserve and Haida
Heritage Site. The designation of the park is unique in Canada as it is
a partnership between the Canadian government and the Council of the
Haida Nation. This partnership is more noticeable lately as all items
displaying logos will now display not only the Parks Canada logo, as in
other parks in Canada, but also the logo of the Council of the Haida
The Haida Gwaii Watchmen live in five of the traditional villages inside
the park. They are there as guardians and hosts. The name, Haida
Watchmen, comes from the three-headed figure on the top of some Haida
totem poles. These watchmen warned of approaching danger.
One historic village, Sgang Gwaay, has been designated as a UNESCO World
Heritage Site in recognition of the village being the only remains of a
traditional Northwest Coastal First Nations village site, including
three types of totem poles: house front poles, memorial poles and
The Gwaii Haanas logo is a sea otter holding a sea urchin. In addition
to being the symbol of the park, it has been authorized by the Haida as
a crest for the “family” of park staff to wear at ceremonies.
The Canadian government, through Parks Canada, has partnered with the
Council of the Haida Nation in the creation of the Qay’llnagaay Heritage
Center in the Haida village of Skidigate. The Center is planned for
opening in 2006. The Gwaii Haanas offices will be located in the Center.
ten-kilometre boundary around Gwaii Haanas is the site of a proposed
Marine Conservation Area.
Flat Stanley has been
visiting the National Parks in the Rocky Mountains and Kluane National
Park in Yukon. In the Rocky
Mountains, the hoodoos are one feature of the landscape that exemplify
the difference in Aboriginal and mainstream worldview.
include the hoodoos in their creation story, explaining that when the
water monster was killed, his body was cut into pieces. The hoodoos were
his ribs and, in part, mark the boundary of their traditional territory.
The scientific explanation for the hoodoos is that they are composed of
sand, silt and gravel cemented together with dissolved limestone.
Running water has eroded the uncemented material away and the hoodoos
National Park is the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik
First Nations and the Kluane First Nations. The recent land claims
agreements have ensured that these First Nations will again have use of
these lands, as well as input into the management of the park.