Western Forest Products and Huu-ay-aht First Nations have officially entered into a limited partnership.
The new limited partnership will be called Huumiis Ventures Limited Partnership (HVLP). The signing marks completion of Huumiis Ventures’ acquisition from Western of a seven-percent interest in the newly formed TFL 44 partnership.
Dignitaries gathered Friday in Anacla, Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ community on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The ceremony was broadcast live via Facebook and community members were able to phone in to listen to proceedings and ask questions.
The ceremony was steeped in Huu-ay-aht traditions. Tyee hawilth Derek Peters invited his daughter, Olivia Peters, to join him for the signing—the tradition of including the next in line to sit with the chief.
“This is a positive step for our small First Nation on the west coast,” Derek Peters said.
Both of them participated in signing the agreement with Western Forest Products using a traditional cedar bark signing—two pieces of cedar bark crossed in an “x” and secured to the paper with wax. In addition to legally signing the document, Huu-ay-aht leaders as well as Don Demens from Western Forest Products affixed cedar x’s with wax.
Demens, Western Forest Product’s president and CEO, called Friday’s signing “a significant milestone.”
“This transaction is a positive step for Western, for Huu-ay-aht and for the Alberni Valley,” he said. “This new partnership will directly increase First Nations participation in the forestry sector, while creating greater stability for our business, our customers and our employees.”
Brian Butler, president of United Steelworkers 1-1937, said the union fully supports and shares Huu-ay-aht and Western’s vision “for a stronger, more sustainable forest industry in the Alberni Valley. We look forward to working with the new TFL 44 Limited Partnership.”