Statement from BC First Nations Demanding Apology from William Shatner and Ryan Reynolds

TLOWITSIS -- June 21, 2024 -- The Rightsholder First Nations who have the rights, title, and sovereign decision-making authority about what happens in our unceded traditional territories demand a public apology from both William Shatner and Ryan Reynolds for their part in Pacific Wild’s advertisement attacking the dignity of our Nations and their members who choose to host salmon farming in our waters.

Sadly, this response from people like Mr. Shatner and Mr. Reynolds is all-to-common in today’s Canada. This is a classic example of a rich, elite, removed, urban white men overriding the wishes of vulnerable Indigenous communities, a reoccurring theme within the Liberal government and recent decisions made by politicians like Minister Wilkinson. 

There are nearly 700 Indigenous peoples working directly and indirectly in salmon farming, a sector that brings $133 million a year to First Nations annually. To repeatedly say “f*ck off” to a sector that is woven into the social and economic fabrics of a dozen First Nations along BC’s coast implies that you do not care about the human well being of our remote communities that do not have a lot of options to turn to economically. These jobs, this sector, cannot be replaced.

We have been the stewards of our lands, waters, and elements for over 10,000 years, including wild Pacific salmon, the life blood of our people. Due to the impact of colonization on wild salmon stocks, we have had to include salmon farming alongside salmon stewardship to fill the economic gap caused by the decline of wild salmon.

Mr. Shatner’s generation specifically has caused irreversible harm and damage to wild Pacific salmon stocks, leaving future generations of our people scrambling to reverse this unimaginable harm.

We are most disappointed in Mr. Reynolds part in this. The caring image he has built for himself, in our eyes, apparently could not be further from the truth after this video was released insulting our people. He, being a British Columbian, should have realized how hurtful, shameful, and impactful these words and this video would land on impoverished, struggling Indigenous communities that are striving to achieve the fraction of the wealth Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Shatner have amassed.

It is beyond disappointing and insulting that we have to issue this statement today, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, when we are supposed to be celebrating the rich histories, cultures, and stewardship of Indigenous peoples. Instead we are faced with publicly responding to this atrocious attack on our principles, protocols, and our people.

We expect an apology in the coming days.
The Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship, and Indigenous coastal communities offended by your tasteless video

Dallas Smith, Spokesperson for the coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship (FNFFS, Tlowitsis Nation