The Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative Society, headquartered in Vancouver and founded in 2000, is an alliance of First Nations in the territory knows as the Great Bear Rainforest, located on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii. The Coastal First Nations include Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk Nation, Gitga’at, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate and Council of the Haida Nation.
In response to the exploitation of the Great Bear Rainforest’s natural resources over the past century, the society was established on the belief that in order for a conservation-based economy to succeed, the area’s First Nations people who live in these territories must play an active part. Its model supports the re-emergence of a sustainable economy while taking into account the cultural and ecological diversity of the traditional territories.
The Great Bear Initiative Society’s strategic approach includes the sustainable ecosystem-based management of marine and land resources and the increased local control and management of forestry and fisheries operations. It also includes coordinated development through regional strategic planning in forestry, fisheries and tourism with an emphasis on value-added initiatives; partnerships and cooperative arrangements with governments, industry, ENGOs and other stakeholder groups; as well as building capacity in communities.