Coastal First Nations is a unique alliance of nine Nations living on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii. Each Nation has its own distinct culture, governance and territory.
The Traditional Territories of our member communities lie in the Great Bear Rainforest –one of the largest temperate coastal rainforest systems left on Earth – and on the coastal shores of our traditional waters.
First Nations have forged a rich culture here. Our culture, language and livelihoods are deeply connected to the riches of rainforest and ocean.
For thousands of years, our people carefully managed an abundance of resources – ancient cedars, herring, salmon, halibut, shellfish and more. We relied on our knowledge of seasonal cycles to harvest land and marine resources without harming or depleting them.
Many believed these coastal resources would last forever. They were wrong.
A Coast-Wide United Front
By the end of the 1990s, forest and ocean resources of the Great Bear were being rapidly depleted by heavy industrial logging and commercial fishing.
It was clear a new approach was needed.
The Great Bear Initiative (formerly Turning Point) was envisioned to assert First Nations leadership in creating a new conservation-based economy in our Traditional Territories.
Our region’s economy had dwindled, jobs were scarce and our communities were struggling. Operating in isolation, First Nations had little access to resources in our Traditional Territories and little say in how they were managed.
In June 2002, leaders from BC’s Central and North Coast and Haida Gwaii came together to sign the Declaration of First Nations of the North Pacific Coast.
Two years later, a coast-wide alliance was born.