Kitkatla challenge

The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear arguments by a native band challenging the authority of the B.C. government. The Kitkatla of the central coast say the province does not have jurisdiction over native heritage sites.

Interfor has logged in the region for almost two decades. Two years ago, the province allowed the company to cut down some of the trees under B.C.'s Heritage Conservation Act.

Matthew Hill, Kitkatla chief, says his people used the bark on trees to make aboriginal clothing centuries ago. The patches of missing bark have left permanent marks on more than 100 trees and they tell a story. Now, those trees have turned up in Interfor's cutblocks.

"The history books of Kitkatla are written in the trees with stone. We need it to preserve a lot of our history," Hill says.

The Kitkatla maintain that legislation is unconstitutional because only the federal government has the authority to make decisions pertaining to native heritage.

Kitkatla lawyers expect to have a date for their Supreme Court challenge soon. If the band is successful, the decision could overturn provincial law.