Save the Smangus People

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing in regards to the wind-fall beech event that had occurred at Smangus and would like to extend my support for the Smangus community. Based on the information made available to me, the Forestry Bureau staff had cut the tree into pieces and removed of them, which was in village boundaries. When the village people tried to take the wood back to the village after it was transported, they were accused of burglary. How can it possibly make sense to charge these traditional people with burglary on something that originally was located in their territory? These people were only taking back what was originally theirs, which was taken away by the Forestry staff. Since that were the case, perhaps it could be considered the Forestry staff committed the burglary first. Had they not removed the tree, the village people would not have been able to take the pieces away.

The Smangus people who have been charged with this unthinkable crime should not only deny these charges, but defend their beliefs as well. These people have broken no laws, because they are being charged with a law that doesn't even apply to them to say the least. They were only taking back what was rightfully theirs. It plays a major role in sustaining their tourism they have. Furthermore, these people are charged with a crime, when Section 4 of Article 15 clearly states that aboriginal people may take forest products which promote their traditional living needs.

It is my hope that these charges can be reviewed and overturned. The Smangus people have resided there for many generations and many are outraged that this situation has come to this.

Thank you for your time.


Kenneth Lau

Student of San Jose State University , San Jose, California

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