The Heiltsuk community of Waglisla, or more commonly known as Bella Bella, is home to in excess of 1200 Heilstuk members. Bella Bella is situated on Campbell Island in BC's Central Coast's Great Forest Rainforest, which is approximately 500 kms north of Vancouver, BC. An ocean peoples, the Heiltsuk primarily rely on the resources in their traditional territory for sustenance from a food, social, ceremonial, and economic basis.
As such, it was imperative that the Heiltsuk consider how they were going to take control of and effectively manage their traditional territory. As part of their visioning and strategic planning exercise, the traditional and elected leadership considered the development of a stewardship organization that housed the appropriate people to ensure that their traditional territory is being protected. Recognizing that the community was in a fortunate position in terms of having the human resources with the appropriate technical capacity to commence such a program, the Heiltsuk Nation eventually established the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department (HIRMD).
Directed by a Board of Directors, which is comprised of representatives from the Hemas (Heiltsuk Chiefs), Heiltsuk Tribal Council, Heiltsuk Youth, Heiltsuk Member at large, the HIRMD management and staff were granted the resources for operations and to establish a centralized office.
The staff consists of the management team, Ross Wilson, Director, Laurie Whitehead, Lands, Mike Reid, Aquatics (Fisheries), Jennifer Carpenter, Cultural and Heritage, each of whom have their own or have access to support staff, such as the Referrals Coordinator, Aquatics field workers, administrative, finance, and communications coordinators.