Blueberry Reserve Rd, Buick, BC V0C 2R0

Welcome to Blueberry River First Nations Land and Resources Department

Blueberry River First Nations (Blueberry) Territory – a changing landscape

Within our current Elders’ lifetimes, the territory has transformed from a pristine land full of natural resources to a landscape now filled with unchecked anthropogenic impacts. These lands have been relied upon by our people for sustenance and trade as far back as the ice age but within the last 40 years the land has transformed to become a foreign place, where we no longer recognize it. Restoring ecological integrity and protecting what land is left, is integral to maintaining who Blueberry is as a people, including the complex relationships with the land and the continuance of livelihoods and treaty rights. Our dreamers prophesied that there would be changes ahead. The last dreamer, the late Charlie Yahey once said the ‘world made too small” and the late Tommy Attachie, head drummer and song keeper from our sister nation Doig River once said, ‘the world is upside down.’

Land and Resources Department:

The Land and Resources Department has a role to play in documenting and defining who our people once were, where we are today, and what our future may look like. It is well understood that healthy lands are required to support diverse and plentiful wildlife populations and that good water quality and quantity is also key to our continuance of our culture, traditions, and spiritual practices.

Importance of Land Stewardship

Blueberry River First Nations understands that for good resource decisions to occur that there must be co-management of the natural resources. Without consensus based decision-making and policy development, our nation can never be certain that our treaty rights interests will be protected. Only our nation can be land stewards of our territory because only we can define what is required to sustain our cultural heritage for perpetuity.

Our Lands Stewardship Goal is to sustain Treaty Rights, culture, community, and economies within the context of healthy ecosystems.

Two key principles are integral in order for our nation to reach our land stewardship goal:

Maintain ecological integrity – by sustaining the biological richness and services provided by natural terrestrial processes, including the structure, function, and composition of terrestrial, and freshwater aquatic ecosystems at all scales and through time.

Maintain the integrity of treaty right practices  – the ability to practice these rights has been impacted as development has proceeded without direct recognition of this principle. Practical support means that the rights are not infringed but rather that the landscape is manage to maintain or restore respect for treaty rights for hunting, fishing, gathering, ands access to the land and water.

Plan for Lands and Treaty Rights

Land and Treaty Rights refers to the priorities and actions that strengthen our jurisdictions over our own lands, including traditional territory, reserves lands, fee-simple lands and lands acquired through our Treaty Land Entitlement claim. Our fundamental relationship with the land, tenures, and property rights within our reserves lands and traditional territory are critical to our self-determination and economic development aspirations.

It is Blueberry River First Nations priority to manage our traditional territory to balance our community’s cultural and economic values. Development and conservation activities in our territory will meet our community’s values through the following actions:

Staffing

Our Land and Resources Department works to further Blueberry River First Nations interests in the area of land stewardship. Our staff include:
Jane – 250-630-2824 office & 250-261-8297 cell email: jcalvert@blueberryfn.ca Jane has over 25 years’ experience in project management, capacity building, consultation process development, negotiations, and land protection for Indigenous communities. Jane prioritizes community member engagement and participation in data collection and monitoring initiatives throughout Blueberry River First Nation’s day-to-day operations.
Ranish – 250-630-2825 email rshakya@blueberryfn.ca
Ranish was hired in January 2018 as our BC Hydro Project Officer but also works as our GIS Technician. Ranish has a Master of Science in Geography from McGill University and is an important part of our lands team by supporting all lands positions with GIS programming and analysis. Ranish has automated our referral process systems, provides referral response support, designed and implemented the inclusion of Traditional Use Studies and cultural heritage projects into decision making processes, and has repatriated historical cultural materials. Ranish also supports membership training opportunities and field work initiatives. Ranish is our representative for the many Site C meetings and related BCH initiatives. With all of Ranish’s varied experience it has given him important insight into the culture, traditions and history of the nation.
Neha – 250-630-2823 forestry@blueberryfn.ca Neha holds an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Management (HBEM) from Lakehead University with an emphasis on forestry. Neha previously worked as our Oil and Gas Project Officer and piloted our new Oil and Gas Pre-Engagement Process. Neha’s current position entails managing Forestry Referrals, related field work, community engagement and participation on the RSEA IM Forestry Flex Team which is a collaboration between industry proponents, provincial government and Blueberry River First Nations. Important consultation processes and tools are being developed that ensure the highest level of community engagement for our forestry decision model
Ben – 250-630-2821 email eao@blueberryfn.ca Ben has an Environmental Technician Diploma and an Environmental Management and Assessment Certificate from Algonquin College. Ben supports our BC OGC referral processes by conducting technical reviews of proposed oil and gas activities. Through the inclusion of members’ real time field assessments, existing previously documented GIS traditional knowledge, heritage information and a preliminary cumulative impact assessment into his technical reviews, he evaluates and responds to all referrals received. In addition to Ben’s role of responding to Oil and Gas referrals, he is also involved with report writing, and communicating with industry and the BC OGC on a daily basis. Ben is responsible for the review, response and mitigation of large scale projects under review by the BC EAO or federal CER projects. Part of this responsibility also includes the development of individual workplan, budgets, and implementation of traditional use studies.

Mae – 250-630-2816 email restoration@blueberryfn.ca

Mae graduated from BCIT completing the Fish, Wildlife and Recreation diploma program in 2017 and the Ecological Restoration BSc program in 2019. Mae is passionate about invasive species management, boreal forest restoration, freshwater ecology, and reciprocal restoration. Mae is Blueberry River First Nations representative for the T8 Restoration Committee and in her spare time is a director of Society for Ecological Restoration – Western Canada Chapter. Mae is designated as a project manager in the CABIN wadeable streams protocol and recently received certificates in  traditional Ecological Knowledge and Low-tech Process-based Riverscape Restoration. Mae has field experience in riparian restoration and fish habitat assessment and in a short period of time has built Blueberry River First Nations water program that includes new hydrometric stations, CABIN sampling, stream monitoring and assessment, weather station monitoring, ground water monitoring and eDNA sampling.

Darian – 250-630-2845 email naturalresources@blueberryfn.ca
Darian completed her BSc in Environmental Sciences in 2016 at the University of Saskatchewan and her MSc in Ecological Restoration in2019 at Simon Fraser University and BCIT. Darian is the lead for wildlifethemed projects and works closely with Mae on land-restoration projects like the oil and gas dormant sites initiative. Community knowledge is incorporated into every aspect of her work. Darian is prioritizing the utilization of our nations knowledge base in order to move forward the protection of wildlife and wildlife features and is passionate about ecologically appropriate restoration that supports wildlife recovery for species important in supporting the treaty right. Darian also supports the community garden at Blueberry River First Nation.
Joanna – 250-630-2819 email compliance@blueberryfn.ca
Joanna is part of the Aboriginal Liaison Program (ALP) which works closely with the provincial government to both identify compliance based community concerns and to conduct weekly oil and gas inspections with our Aboriginal Liaison Project Officer. Joanna works closely with the Davis, Wolf and Yahey family groups. Joanna also works as a liaison connecting our members with cultural or construction monitor employment opportunities. Other casual employment opportunities include biophysical studies or archeology support.
TBD – 250-630-2826 email lands@blueberryfn.ca This is our second position working in the ALP with the late Dan and Ed Apsassin families. In addition to weekly oil and gas site inspections, TBD also works closely with the Compliance Project Officer on the implementation of weekly construction monitor site visits. During these field reviews, both TBD and Joanna have an opportunity to check in with site supervisors and our members working on oil and gas construction sites. TBD also offers casual employment opportunities to members, including real-time referral assessments for forestry and oil and gas.
Blueberry River First Nations newest positon to support water quality and quantity monitoring initiatives, development of water related employment opportunities and referral review and response for water related proposed projects.