By BBC/Evelyne Wareh
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited a remote First Nation community on day three of their Canadian tour.
Heiltsuk people from island village Bella Bella welcomed them to the Great Bear Rainforest, in British Columbia, and gave them traditional vests. They were also draped in Heiltsuk blankets during a ceremony to mark the “Amazon of the north” joining the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy network. The network helps to preserve indigenous forests.
Prince William said: “The establishment of the canopy is a loud and unambiguous statement that the citizens of all Commonwealth countries believe that nature is fundamental to the health of our societies.
“When we protect our rivers, oceans, atmospheres, or like today, our forests, we are telling our children that their future prosperity cannot be disconnected from the health of the natural world.”
Chief council member Marilyn Slett welcomed the couple and said they were there as part of the “healing” the First Nation community is undertaking.
The Cambridges heard passionate statements from community leaders about their battle to stop the plunder of the natural resources of their lands and the struggle to preserve their way of life for future generations.
As the couple were given their ceremonial blankets, they were told: “We use these blankets to wrap the spirits of our ancestors around you and to unite your spirits together with ours.”
A downpour prevented them taking a seaplane tour of the forest – the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest – but the couple later took a stroll through it.
There was a reception for the couple at Government House in Victoria on Monday evening.