Session: Forests as a Source of Economic Development: How First Nations are Building a Forest Industry
Time: February 23 at 9:30 AM
Robert J. Dennis Sr. is the chief Councillor for Huu-ay-aht First Nations, a modern treaty nation located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
In addition to holding this title for the current four-year term, as of 2015, he served as the Nations’ elected chief from 1995 to 2011. Robert also served six two-year terms as a councillor for Huu-ay-aht and three years as Huu-ay-aht’s band manager.
While chief, Robert spent 14 years as the chief negotiator for Huu-ay-ayt First Nation, from 1996 to 2011. Robert also served as the speaker for Tayii Ḥaw̓ił Spencer Peters. He also held the forestry portfolio for the nation and was responsible for ensuring sustainable forestry management within Huu-ay-aht territory, ensuring that meaningful consultation and accommodation was achieved, and developing business relationships with licensee holders in the territory. Robert was responsible for ensuring Huu-ayaht had Treaty Interim Measures Agreements with BC and Canada and they were fully implemented.
As the chief councilor, Robert ensured that forestry was one of the natural resources used to develop a strong Huu-ay-aht economy through the development of Huu-ay-aht economic strategy.
In addition to the years of service he offered his Nation, for eight years, Robert was the executive director, building coordinator, and program director for the Port Alberni Friendship Center.
Robert also worked as a director and shore worker for Central Native Fisherman’s Co-op for more than six years. He was, and still is, a logger and fisherman.
His current position as elected chief councillor makes it easy to celebrate the culture, but Robert truly believes in the importance of preserving this and his language. For that reason, Robert is passionate about sharing these aspects with Huu-ay-aht citizens and the outside world. The forest plays a huge role in Huu-ay-aht culture, traditions, and values.