ANACLA, British Columbia — GLOBE NEWSWIRE — Huumiis Ventures Limited Partnership, a limited partnership beneficially owned by the Huu-ay-aht First Nations (“Huu-ay-aht”), and Western Forest Products Inc. have announced the completion of HVLP’s acquisition from Western of a 7% interest in the newly formed TFL 44 Limited Partnership.

“The transaction is a positive step for Western, for Huu-ay-aht and for the Alberni Valley,” said Don Demens, Western’s president and CEO. “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.”

A community celebration and official signing ceremony was held on Huu-ay-aht traditional territory in Anacla to mark the milestone. Both parties signed papers representing their commitment to the new partnership and sealed them with a traditional Huu-ay-aht cedar bark wax seal.

“The finalization of this transaction is a positive step forward toward reconciliation,” said Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “In order for our citizens to thrive, we must ensure there are jobs for our people and business opportunities for our Nation. This new partnership demonstrates a strong commitment by Western and Huu-ay-aht to revitalize the Alberni Valley forest sector in a manner that is a win for everyone and ensures we will be able to manage Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin’s ḥahuułi (Huu-ay-aht’s hereditary chief’s traditional territory) resources in keeping with the Nation’s forestry values.”

“Our sacred principles of ʔiisaak, ʔuuʔałuk, and Hišuk ma c̕awak guide us as we focus on using the resources in our ḥahuułi (traditional territory) sustainably to create wealth for our Nation, while protecting those same resources for future generations,” said Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Hereditary Chief Derek Peters).

The shared vision of Huu-ay-aht and Western includes a framework for reconciliation and revitalization of the Alberni Valley forest sector. The framework includes opportunities for increased participation of area First Nations through tenure ownership, employment and business opportunities, sustained domestic manufacturing, increased training, effective marketing and value-added product innovation, and strong environmental stewardship.

“Our Union fully supports and shares Huu-ay-aht and Western’s vision for a stronger, more sustainable forest industry in the Alberni Valley,” said Brian Butler, President USW 1-1937. “We look forward to working with the new TFL 44 Limited Partnership to improve the lives of all working people and their families – together we will bring greater opportunity and certainty to this industry.”

The TFL 44 Limited Partnership assets consist of certain Western assets in its Port Alberni Forest Operation, including TFL 44 and other associated assets and liabilities. The transaction is consistent with the goals of the parties’ March 2018 Reconciliation Protocol Agreement.