Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Indigenous People and the upper Bridge River Valley

Indigenous People and the upper Bridge River Valley

I want to share this information so that the people that live and own property in the upper Bridge River Valley understand the current context of territorial claims and processes underway that potentially could impact our area.  


The St'at'imc consider the upper Bridge River Valley to be part of their territory.   The St'at'imc are not involved in the treaty process and to date, are not involved in any legal proceedings regarding their territory.

You can find more basic information on the St'at'imc at www.statimc.net.

In January, the SLRD and the St'at'imc had a community to community forum. You can see the report and follow up actions of the board at: https://slrd.civicweb.net/FileStorage/032F785EF15C4469978899E58D8025BC-C2C%20Forum%20Relationship-building%20-%20RFD.pdf

In mid-March I also attending a facilitated workshop that had considerable and elected St'at'imc representation as well as many community groups including our Bridge River Valley Community Association.  When I have the report on that I will share it with you all.

I have found both these forums very educational as we learnt the history of the St'at'imc from their perspective.  When you view the facts from their vantage, you are able to more deeply understand where we find ourselves today.  The harder question is how to move from here.  Both forums were good opportunities to ask questions and explore common issues and concerns.  

Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (NStQ),           

These communities are in the Treaty Process and are in the process of voting on an agreement in principle.   If it is approved, they will then move forward to negotiate the final details of the treaty.   You can find out more basic information about the NStQ at:  http://northernshuswaptribalcouncil.com/

Here is the Statement of Intent map for their treaty negotiations.

If you look carefully at the southern end of this map, you will see that it takes in signficant areas that overlap with Area A and Area B of the SLRD and of the St'at'imc identified territory.

Tsilhqot'in and the Nenqay Deni Accord

On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a historic judgment in the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s Aboriginal title case. All 8 judges agreed with this decision. Aboriginal title declared – for the first time in Canada.

On February 11, 2016, the B.C. Government and the Tsilhqot’in Nation signed a five-year framework agreement (attached) that establishes a shared vision, principles and structures to negotiate a comprehensive and lasting reconciliation between the Nation and the Province. This agreement, named the Nenqay Deni Accord (or the “People’s Accord”), outlines 8 pillars of reconciliation to be negotiated in a holistic manner, including: 1) Tsilhqot’in Governance 2) Strong Tsilhqot’in Culture and Language 3) Healthy Children and Families 4) Healthy Communities 5) Justice 6) Education and Training 7) Tsilhqot’in Management Role for Lands and Resources in Tsilhqot’in Territory 8) Sustainable Economic Base

This is a very new and unique type of negotiation—a first of its kind in Canada. It is not a treaty, although it vaguely resembles one. The Nenqay Deni Accord (hereinafter “The Accord”, attached) is a framework for continued/ongoing – 2 – negotiation with the ‘bigger-picture’ being an outcome of ‘reconciliation’ whereby the Tsilhqot’in are redressed for all past grievances effected by the Government of British Columbia. The Accord will likely set a precedent for reconciliation with the Indigenous people

Of interest, is the map taken from the Nenqay Deni Accord.  Note that this territory is much much larger than the area the Tsilhqo'in Nation was awarded aborginal title to in the court decision.  You will also see some significant overlap with the NStQ Statement of Intent Treaty Map above.

Again, take a look at the southern end of the outlined Territory.  Portions of Area A and Area B and St'at'imc territory included in this map taken from the Nenqay Deni Accord.  

You can read "what this means"  at the SLRD staff report (it is short and clear) and the accord itself here:  https://slrd.civicweb.net/FileStorage/058B8AAA379C45C19994528D5B3F739D-Nenqay_Deni_Accord_03092016-IR.pdf

I would note that the SLRD, local government was not made aware or so far consulted on either the NStQ treaty negotiation or the Nenqay Deni Accord or the territory it maps out.   I want to assure you all that we are monitoring and asking questions.  I will keep you as informed as I can.