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“There is a land claims treaty process that is going on in Canada,” Larsen reports, “but generally the native people in the province of British Columbia are very dissatisfied with it because it asks them to do things in terms of Western court procedures as opposed to their own indigenous ways of knowing and establishing these things. The Cheslatta are among two-thirds of the native bands that are withdrawing from the treaty process completely—as a matter of protest and also as a matter of expediency” as they seek to join forces with other groups. As a matter of fact, the lumberyards in Columbia will likely contain Cheslatta forest products that derive from this band of 500 individuals partnering with a multi-national timber firm.
“One of the most fascinating things I discovered in the course of my research,” reflects Larsen, is that both the Anglo and Cheslatta residents seem to use scales “in which they construct their identity for different purposes.” More specifically, he notices that, generally speaking, “when an outside force comes into the area . . . they call themselves Southsiders . . ., forming this unified front” against outside firms and corporations that tend to harvest the resources and then just leave. Their collaboration proved successful in preventing a new dam from being constructed, and “their success has bred more collaboration in these coalition politics.” Yet Larsen also noticed that when that outside force is removed, “they tend to fall back into their distinct little cultural groups”—Anglo and Cheslatta.