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General News · 14th September 2022
Mark Vonesch
When I heard that the Klahoose Chief, Steven Brown, had his Indigineity questioned, was accused of corruption, and the boundaries of the Klahoose territory disputed during a community forest logging protest, I was shocked.

It has taken me a moment to gather my thoughts and speak with others and I am grateful to those that have already denounced it.

For many Indigenous people, racist actions are unfortunately not shocking. They are all too common and have been happening since first contact. As settlers on this beautiful island, we have work to do in understanding the truth of our colonial history and reconciling for the harm that has and continues to be done. We are all at different states in this work and I encourage everyone to go deeper.

I realize these actions came from a small group of people, but know that for anyone willing to speak up so abusively, there are others that quietly agree or will make the same comments in the safety of their friend circles.

Speak up when you hear racist comments, have courageous conversations with friends and family, educate yourself further on the lived experiences of Indigenous people in this country, pay attention to the calls for reconciliation, and on Cortes, support and celebrate Klahoose’s efforts to bring economic prosperity to their Nation.

The Cortes Forestry General Partnership (CFGP) is a 50% partnership between the Klahoose First Nation and the Cortes Community Forest Co-op. It stands for the hope that we can work together, outside of corporate influence, and manage our forests in a new way.

Leaving old growth and the healthiest trees, being sensitive to wetlands, making small, selective logging choices that are thinking about future generations, and acting out reconciliation as the Klahoose benefit from resources on their unceded lands. These are revolutionary acts in comparison to how forest management has been carried out in the past.

I believe deeply in Cortes Island’s ability to set an example and be an inspiration for what’s possible in the world. Let’s use this dark moment to reflect on how we can do better and take action for positive change.

Mark Vonesch

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