Penelakut land defender Kevin ‘Bear’ Henry missing, logging company stops search vehicles
On January 16, the Toronto Star reported: “Bear Henry, a two-spirited 37-year-old who has been protesting old-growth logging at Fairy Creek, since March 2021, went missing on Nov. 27. Henry’s family and friends fear the worst.”
The Fairy Creek blockade (Ada’itsx) is located on Pacheedaht and Ditidaht territory, approximately 100 kilometres north-west of the city of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Bear’s last text was sent from Lake Cowichan, about 60 kilometres from the blockades.
Bear’s Aunt Rose Henry, known by friends as Grandma Losah, says: “Bear’s last text said someone was banging on the side of their van and that they were scared.”
The article adds: “Their van, spray-painted with phrases like ‘Land Back’ and ‘Fairy Creek forever’ was a target for angry loggers, says Grandma Losah. Bear, she said, had received previous threats.”
“Saturday [January 15] marked the first day RCMP formally allowed protesters to search logging roads where they believe Bear was travelling when they disappeared.”
“But on Saturday afternoon, Bear’s search team was still denied entry by security officers contracted by Teal-Jones, the timber company that has logging rights on the land protesters consider ‘unceded’ and is at the heart of the Fairy Creek old-growth demonstrations.”
“Teal-Jones denies that it has restricted access to search and rescue personnel, spokesperson Shawn Hall wrote in an email.”
“The search group on Saturday retraced Bear’s planned journey from Victoria to Cowichan Lake, over mountain roads and then to Fairy Creek. But once at the Fairy Creek blockade, the team was prevented by security from taking search vehicles into the logging territory, despite permission from the RCMP detachment via satellite phone.”
The full Toronto Star article can be read at Search for missing Indigenous logging protester grows tense in B.C.
To donate to the search effort, visit the Bring Bear Home! GoFundMe page. Public online materials are available for those who want to become involved in search efforts. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive more information that will become available in an automatic response.
Bear Henry is Missing: This Facebook group was formed so that family and friends of Bear Henry can keep track of all information in the continued search for them.