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Paper Excellence, Hupacasath First Nation sign MOU

Move is about recognizing aboriginal rights, says Alberni general manager
Walter Tarnowksy (left), general manager at Catalyst Port Alberni, shakes hands with Hupacasath FIrst Nation Elected Chief Councillor Brandy Lauder (right), after signing an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Hupacasath First Nation and Catalyst Paper, a Paper Excellence company. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Hupacasath First Nation and Paper Excellence Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, setting out the intentions of both parties to build a collaborative relationship.

“Signing this MOU is about change,” said Walter Tarnowsky, general manager of Catalyst Port Alberni (a Paper Excellence company). “It’s about all of us at Paper Excellence rightfully recognizing and respecting the aboriginal rights of the Hupacasath Nation and forging a relationship that allows us to grow together as partners into the future. It’s change that is long overdue. It’s change that is needed. And it’s change that we look forward to.”

“The Hupacasath Nation is pleased to take this important first step in building a mutually beneficial relationship with the Port Alberni mill,” said Hupacasath First Nation Elected Chief Councillor Brandy Lauder. “Our people have been in this valley since time immemorial and we value meaningful partnerships with the forest industry in our territory.”

Paper Excellence noted in a press release that its approach is to build long-term, high-value partnerships with communities in its operating areas and to align its vision, values and corporate policies with local Indigenous people.

In December 2021, Paper Excellence’s Port Alberni mill also signed an MOU with Tseshaht First Nation.