Nlaka’pamux and Secwepemc Chiefs Stand United Against Biosolids

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kamloops, BC (March 15th, 2016) – Nlaka’pamux and Secwepemc Chiefs met Thursday, March 10th at the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council in Kamloops, BC to discuss their concerns with biosolid waste dumping on our traditional territories.  The Chiefs unanimously agreed to work in collaboration as Nations to find acceptable solutions to this issue.  The ultimate goal is to have all biosolid dumping within our traditional territories come to an end.

“We believe the practice of using biosolids in agricultural lands and on our life sustaining ecosystems can be completely eradicated if we work together.  This is not just an issue for First Nations people.  This is an issue for everyone as we all need the land to be healthy if we are to be healthy. You get what you give.  Moving forward, we need to be utilizing the most cutting edge technologies to offset the toxic waste from being transported directly onto the land and into our water systems. We need to rely on traditional Indigenous knowledge as it’s the best way we can protect the environment,” stated Kukpi7 Wayne Christian, Tribal Chief of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council.

“We view this land application of biosolids as nothing more than a method of cheap toxin dispersal for big cities. They attain a cleaner environment while the people living in these areas are expected to take the poisonous burden on their shoulders. This practice is impacting the soil, water and air we all rely on for our lives. First Nations peoples are particularly vulnerable to this accumulating low-level toxic build up, as this sewer sludge is sprayed into the forests and on the meadows, jeopardizing the traditional practices of gathering foods and medicines, as well as potentially threatening the safety of hunting and fishing,” expressed Chief Aaron Sam of the Lower Nicola Indian Band.

“Biosolids” is the waste-water industry’s name for the sewer sludge left over after the facilities have done the job of cleaning the water. It represents everything cities pour down their drains – fecal matter, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, solvents, cleaners – everything. The sewer sludge companies “sell” this highly concentrated and toxic material on to the ranchers, farmers, and forestry people as something “beneficial” because it does indeed contain things plants like – nitrogen and phosphorous for example. However, the toxic contaminants have not been removed, only some of the easy-to-kill pathogens and bacteria are taken care of in the treatment process. The rest of these dangerous toxins are applied to our lands where they can easily enter the food chain.

There are alternatives! New methods of gasification or pyrolysis will rid the sludge of its toxins and at the same time return energy to the grid. This is the direction the government should be going. The Nlaka’pamux and Secwepemc Chiefs are committed to work together on this issue until we can find better way forward.

Media Contacts:

Chief Wayne Christian – 250-503-7072; kukpi7_christian@splatsin.ca

Chief Aaron Sam – 250-315-7563; asam@lnib.net

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Aboriginal Hunting and Fishing Rights

Hunting and Fishing Rights Review of Key Legal Principles Briefing Note

Note: All cases must be viewed in their entirety and facts in each case vary, therefore so do the results.

Key legal principles established in the area of hunting and fishing rights cases summary

-Section 35 protects aboriginal rights; however, these rights can be infringed by Government when certain actions are considered justified by the courts.  A common justification example includes regulations or laws that are directed to conservation of a species.

 

Fishing

  • There was no Aboriginal right to a commercial fishery, nor any fiduciary duty on the part of the Crown to provide access to a commercial fishery. [Lax Kw’alaams]
  • Fishing for food and ceremonial purposes was integral to the culture, but the exchange (sale) of fish was merely incidental and therefore not protected by s.35. [Van der Peet]
  • However, in Gladstone, the court found, based on the evidence, that large scale trade of herring spawn on kelp was a central, significant and defining feature of the culture of the Heiltsuk and the Fisheries Act infringed the right.
  • NTC Smokehouse-the aboriginal right to sell fish was not established on a large scale because the exchange of fish, when taking place apart from the occasion to which such an exchange was incidental, cannot, even if that occasion was an integral part of the aboriginal society in question, constitute an aboriginal right.
  • V. Jones- commercial fishing for band sustenance (as opposed to profit) was protected as an aboriginal or treaty right. Evidence showed that commercial fishing was a community based, collective activity directed to the subsistence of the group as a whole.

Exercise on another Nation’s territory-R v. Jack- The aboriginal right to fish includes the right to invite other kin from other Bands to fish.  (same Nation).

Exercise by non-aboriginal-Aboriginal fishing rights are held by a collective and by the individuals who make up that collective.  Aboriginal rights may not be exercised by non-Aboriginal persons.  An Aboriginal person did not have the right to appoint her non-Aboriginal husband to exercise her fishing rights. [Pike]

However, in a lower court decision, R. v. Cunningham, the court acquitted the non-aboriginal husband for fishing without a license, as he was helping his wife exercise a constitutional right and was entitled to assist her to minimize her exposure to danger.

-Aboriginal title was one manifestation of the doctrine of aboriginal rights.  Therefore, it is not necessary to establish aboriginal title in order to assert aboriginal rights. [Adams]

-Aboriginal rights to fish include:

  1. the right to determine who within the band will be the recipients of the fish for ultimate consumption;
  2. the right to select the purpose for which the fish will be used (food, ceremonial)
  3. the right to fish for steelhead;
  4. the right to choose the period of time to fish in the river;
  5. the right to determine when fishing will occur and the method and manner of fishing.

(Crown did not provide evidence in this case that justified the infringements) [Nikal]

-The terms, “existing aboriginal rights” within s.35, must be interpreted flexibly so as to permit their evolution over time.  The phrase does not “freeze” the right in time.  [Sparrow]

-Under an Aboriginal Communal Fishing license, aboriginal people could fish for food when non-aboriginals could not.  This restriction was challenged and the court concluded that the Minister made a valid decision under the Act and the court would not interfere with that decision.  The court cannot turn a political choice into an adjudicative decision in this case. [Huovinen]

 

Hunting

Hunting-R. v. Alphonse-The shooting of a deer on unoccupied, unfenced and uncultivated private land, although contrary to the Wildlife Act, was accomplished pursuant to the exercise of an unextinguished aboriginal right.

Hunting-R. v. Quipp-two members of the Sto:lo Nation were charged after shooting a cow elk closed season.  They were hunting, not on Sto:lo lands, but on the territory of the Thompson or Okanagan First Nations.  The accused were convicted because they did not show that they had Aboriginal rights to hunt in that territory without prior permission from those Nations.

  1. v. Duguay-convicted of selling fish and game contrary to provincial Act. His aboriginal rights argument was rejected by the courts because he had not produced enough evidence to establish that it was a distinct cultural practice of the Algonquins.
  2. v. Morris-Two members of Tsartlip First Nation was acquitted of hunting at night. While the case arose from a breach of treaty rights, the SCC remarked that a blanket prohibition on night hunting throughout BC was going “overboard”. Not a sound basis for limiting a treaty right.

However, in R. v. Seward, the accused was convicted for hunting at night as he did not establish enough evidence that the members of the Band historically hunted at night.

  1. v. Stump-Larry Stump and Charles Elkins were charged with night hunting. The judge found that the Chilcotin Bad had an aboriginal right to night hunt which was infringed by Act. However, judge found that safety concerns provided justification.
  2. v. Pariseau-Algonquins charged with hunting at night. Court found that they had right to hunt for food but that restriction imposed was justified for safety reasons.
  3. v. Dick-Wildlife Act requirement for possession permits for dead wildlife was of no force or effect with respect to Aboriginals.

Draft by Bonnie Leonard, Tribal Director on October 20th, 2015

 

Click here for more information on case law regarding Aboriginal Hunting Fishing and Harvesting Rights

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Press Release: It’s Time for Leaders to Lead

SECWEPEMC NATION (December 15th, 2015): First of all, we must acknowledge what an incredibly important topic this is, not just for First Nations people but for all people. Children have a special place in all of our hearts and we recognize that the emotions being brought into the conversation surrounding this report are heightened, and rightfully so.

Part One of the Plecas Review has brought many significant issues to light.  Mainly, that the foundation upon which MCFD was crafted is, and always has been, structurally flawed. As First Nations leaders, we have always known this as it is disproportionately our children who are suffering the most through this broken system.  While we fundamentally disagree with the position Mr. Plecas has taken on these issues, a few of his conclusions have merit.

At the very beginning of his report, Mr. Plecas discusses levels of responsibility and aptly points out that we live in a society where we only lay blame with the government when things go wrong; not the parents, families, or communities who have the foremost responsibility to these children. This is one sentiment of the report that we can fully get behind as it is something we have been saying for decades.  As First Nations leaders, we have continuously called upon the Provincial government to step aside and make room for us to obtain the full jurisdiction and responsibility over our own children.  With over 60.6% of children in care being Aboriginal and another scathing report at their doorstep, perhaps now the province will take our plea into more serious contemplation.

Mr. Plecas concludes his overview by stating: “Collectively, we need to move beyond the blame game and to provide the required leadership for a successful plan.  That leadership, in my view, starts with the elected Members of the Legislature.” We agree that we must move beyond pointing blame, but in our view, this has to start with First Nations leaders having a seat at the table and being key decision makers in everything that has to do with our children and families.  Mr. Plecas makes the suggestion of MCFD hiring an Indigenous person in the role of Assistant Deputy Minister in charge of Aboriginal Programs; this is a start, but we need more.

As Kukpi7 Wayne Christian, SNTC Tribal Chief and Chief of Splatsín, expressed: “Decision Time is about Leaders from all political stripes needing to stop blaming each other and make a decision to lead – the system is broken and bringing in a retired bureaucrat who was the architect of the current MCFD will not address the issues. Premier Clark needs to step up and lead or step down as she is not providing leadership for the children and families of BC. We, as Chiefs, also need to step up and lead for our children and demand recognition of our laws for our children and families.”

The Sword of Damocles is hanging over all our heads, not just the social workers as expressed by Plecas.  It is time for us as leaders to step up, be honest about our shortcomings, and commit ourselves to doing a better job for our most vulnerable children.  These children in care only have one childhood and we can’t afford another 35 years of getting it wrong.  We strongly call upon the Premier and her cabinet to meet with us and chart a new course forward where we can secure better outcomes for our children.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Elk Population in East Kootenays

Important message from Shuswap Indian Band (Invermere) regarding the Elk population in the East Kootenays. Please read the following or click on attached images to see the letter:

To All Shuswap Nation Chief, Council and Nation Members:

Re: Elk population in the East Kootenays

At a meeting of concerned parties it was determined that the Elk population in the Findlay Creek and Skookumchuck area is in serious decline. The Elk herds will need a minimum two years of restricted hunting to bring the population back to a healthy number. Present at this meeting, there was representation from Ministry of Forests, The Columbia Kootenay Conservation Officer and Bob Jamieson, a representative involved in the elk count for the East Kootenays.

Shuswap Band Chief and Council ask that all First Nation hunters follow the regular Elk hunting season for a minimum of two years. It is important that all concerned, native and non-native, abide by these regulations designed to preserve the Elk populations for future generations.

We are requesting the Shuswap Communities, by consensus, agree to the rules in place for the 2015 hunting season. Specifically in the Skookumchuck and Findlay Creek hunting areas. The rules are as follows:

1. Permit Only Hunting for all First Nations members wishing to hunt in the East Kootenays, will be $ 30.00 (thirty) dollars. For 1 Elk, or 1 moose, and a deer, either Whitetail or Mule deer. These permits will be issued by the Shuswap Band Titles And Rights Department.

Please contact Rosalita Pascal at (250) 341-3678 Monday – Friday, or submit written requests to RR#2 3A- 492 Arrow road, Invermere B.C. V0A-1K2. Electronic submissions can be made by request to rpascal@shuswapband.net

2. All hunters will be required to report to the Shuswap Band of their intentions to hunt.

3. All hunters not permitted; will have their animals removed and given to the local First Nations for supporting community membership.

4. All proper documentation must be provided to local Conservation Officers at their request.

5. A notice of our guidelines along with the statement that: if we do not regulate hunting; there will be no Elk left to hunt. This will be sent out to all Bands.

6. All Elk taken from the East Kootenays must be reported to the Shuswap Band.

7. There will be no hunting after December 1 for the 2015/2016 hunting seasons.

The Shuswap Nation and Ktunaxa Nation are working together and in cooperation with the Province of BC to maintain the Herds.
It is important that we all understand the urgency and immediately implement a strategy to save the Elk populations in this region. This is a problem that we all share and we need to work together on a plan to fix it. We seek your support in developing a mutually agreed upon course of action so that we may stand united in our negotiations, with the Province of British Columbia and/or other levels of government on this matter.

Shuswap Band
Chief and Council
Invermere B.C.

Elk hunt Draft Elk Population in the East Kootenays P1Elk Population in the East Kootenays P2

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

The Easy Guide to Voting on Reserve

Step One – Register to vote

You can register on line at https://ereg.elections.ca or register by mail using the form on
page four of this document. You can also call Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868 for
the mail-in form.

Step Two – Get your voter registration card in the mail

If you do not get a voter registration card, call Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868 or go to the polling station and register when you vote. You will need to prove your
identity, which may include providing a letter from the Band identifying you as living on
reserve.

Step Three – Vote! There are three ways you can vote:

1. On Election Day

If you have a voter information card, take it with you when you go to vote at the polling station at the address shown on the card.
If you don’t have a voter information card, and you didn’t register earlier, you can still register to vote at the polling station on Election Day by proving your identity and
address, as described above. For your poll location, call Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868.

2. At an advance poll

If you don’t wish to vote on Election Day, you can vote earlier at an advance poll. The voter information card tells you the dates and address. Take it with you to the polling station. If you need to, you can also register at the advance poll.

Special note: If you have poor health with good days and bad days or if you have mobility difficulties or simply can’t stand in line, we strongly recommend that you vote at the advance polls.

3. By special ballot

You can vote by special ballot if you can’t go to your polling station to vote (either on election day or at the advance polls) or for any other reason. You can get a special ballot registration form from your local Elections Canada office or from the Elections Canada Web site (www.elections.ca), or by calling Elections Canada. If you want to vote by special ballot, apply early. The last day to request a special ballot is 6:00 p.m. on the sixth day before Election Day.]

More information and important documents for voting here: The Easy Guide to Voting on Reserve Booklet

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Secwepemc Chiefs Want Reconciliation and Justice for Families Impacted by Current Child Welfare System and Indian Residential School Day Scholars

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kamloops – On May 28th, 2015, Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin remarked in her speech on “Reconciling Unity and Diversity in the Modern Era: Tolerance and Intolerance” that there are three conditions that she believes “essential to maintaining the norm of tolerance: first, insisting on respect for the human dignity of each person; second, fostering inclusive institutions and cultural attitudes in civil society; and third, maintaining the rule of law (p.3).”[1]

“With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission coming to a close, its findings don’t come as a surprise to us.  Our people live with the realities and ramifications resultant from the Residential School “cultural genocidal” regime everyday day”, declared Kukpi7 Christian, Tribal Chief of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council. “The prevailing effects of this horrendous stain in our history can be most clearly seen in the current child welfare system and its overrepresentation of Aboriginal children and families.” The TRC recommends ninety four legislation implementations that could address the injustices of the Residential Schools.

As Chief Justice McLachlin stated, “insisting on respect for the human dignity of each person” is essential for tolerance.  Respect and dignity is what our children in care need and deserve. After generations of our children being abducted from their homes and families and being stripped of their culture, the status quo of child welfare cannot continue. The SNTC Chiefs join hundreds of other leaders across the country in a call to action. Social circumstances must change and leadership must be front and center taking the actions required that will shape future generations.

We eagerly await the final ruling from the Human Rights Tribunal where Cindy Blackstock and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society challenged the federal government’s inequitable funding for our children.  If the Tribunal takes note of the Chief Justice’s words as we have, they will see the only ruling they can make is the one that respects dignity and the rule of law for our most vulnerable citizens.

We agree with Chief Justice and see a need for “fostering inclusive institutions and cultural attitudes in civil society.” Truth and Reconciliation Commission Canada’s fourth recommendation calls upon the federal government to: “Affirm the right of Aboriginal governments to establish and maintain their own child-welfare agencies.”2

At this conclusion of the TRC, it is important that we recognize all of the day scholars who were exposed to the traumas of attending residential schools but have yet to find their justice or peace of mind. The impacts they endured are just as real as any other survivor. Part of TRC’s fourteenth recommendation, “Aboriginal languages are fundamental and valued elements of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.” Shows these people are living proof of a culture being stolen.

The Tk̓emlúps te Secwepemc and Sechelt First Nations have launched a class action suit and are seeking to represent all Aboriginal persons who attended Indian Residential Schools as day students for compensation for their losses of language and culture.  Ruling from Justice Harrington as to whether this can go forward as a class action can be expected by the end of this year.   For justice to be found from the residential school era, Day Scholars require the opportunity for the rule of law be applied and for their experiences to be entered into the record.

Contact:

Chief Wayne Christian, Shuswap Nation Tribal Council – 1 (250) 503-7072 

 

[1] Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, P.C. Chief Justice of Canada (2015) “Reconciling Unity and Diversity in the Modern Era: Tolerance and Intolerance” remarks at the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, Ontario

2 Truth and Reconciliation Canada, (2015), “Calls to Action”, 4i

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

SFC Notice to Secwepemc Community Fishers – STOP FISHING IMMEDIATELY

NOTICE TO SECWEPEMC COMMUNITY FISHERS

STOP FISHING IMMEDIATELY

August 7, 2014

RE:     MOUNT POLLEY MINE TAILINGS POND BREACH

On August 4th the tailings pond dam at the Mount Polley Mine site breached and released contaminated waste water and sediment into Polley Lake.  Hazeltine Creek flows out of Polley Lake and the flow of contaminated materials continued into Quesnel Lake.  The Quesnel River flows out of Quesnel Lake for approximately 100 km into the Fraser River at Quesnel.

SFC is monitoring this mining disaster closely.  The potential impacts on fish health are obvious and serious, but have yet to be fully determined.  There are reports already of salmon being caught near Lytton in the Fraser River with their skins peeling off.

We all urgently need reliable information about the toxicity of the materials and the scope of the pollution.  Water quality testing is currently being done by the Ministry of the Environment and we are awaiting results today.  As we receive updated information, SFC will forward it to community fisheries managers and catch surveyors.

At this time there is reason to believe that fishing will be affected in the Thompson River.  SFC is advising Secwepemc community fishers to EXERCISE CAUTION AND STOP FISHING UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

For further information:

BC Provincial Government Newsroom   http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/08/mt-polley-mine-incident.html

 

Click here for a copy of the SFC Notice: SFC Notice to Fishers_Aug 07 14

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

SNTC Condemns Mount Polley Mine Inaction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Shuswap Nation Tribal Council Condemns Mount Polley Mine Inaction

August 5th, 2014

The Shuswap Nation Tribal Council (SNTC) condemns the inaction following the disastrous breach of the Mount Polley Mine’s tailing pond early Monday, August 4th, 2014.  The breach which caused over 5million cubic meters of contaminated water and toxic effluent to flow into the Hazeltine Creek and surrounding area is a state of emergency requiring immediate action.

The Williams Lake Indian Band, the Soda Creek Indian Band, members of the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council, and the surrounding communities have opposed permits for the mine to discharge effluent into the Quesnel Lake because of environmental concerns, and yet nothing was done.  Despite years of opposition and public outcry the Mount Polley Mine, owned by Imperial Metals Corporation, did not have a cohesive emergency plan in place.

“We are deeply concerned about the environmental degradation that this man-made disaster will leave in its wake, not only now, but well into the future,” says Chief Shane Gottfriedson, Tribal Spokesperson.  “When Prime Minister Harper changed the environmental legislation without first nation’s consultation we knew it would be only a matter of time before something like this happened.  We collectively demand action from the Governments of Canada and British Columbia to limit the negative impacts of this breach and to ensure that something like this never happens again.”

With what appears to be a limited emergency response it is highly likely the breach will affect many southern waterways, posing immense danger to the health of all British Columbians through the threat to our drinking water and the health of this year’s Adams River sockeye salmon run, predicted to be a record breaking return.

“This isn’t just a Secwepemc nation problem, this is a provincial problem.  We must hold all levels of government accountable, as well as the owners of the mine.  This breach affects each and every person and living organism in this province, including our sockeye. This is a wake-up call for British Columbians.  What does Imperial Metals plan to do?  How can we in good faith allow them to do it again at Ruddock Creek?  We must demand a moratorium on mining and exploration activities in our province before it’s too late,” says Chief Nelson Leon, Adams Lake Indian Band.

“We will not tolerate Imperial Metals downplaying this disaster, and demand a comprehensive review of safety procedures on all tailings.  There will be no mining within the Secwepemc nation until these demands have been met.  Criminal charges must be laid against this company,” added Chief Gottfriedson.

The SNTC works to advance the collective issues of aboriginal rights and title.  The SNTC is involved with fisheries and habitat management within the Secwepemc nation’s traditional territory and is dedicated to integrated, holistic approaches to ecosystem conservation and management.

Contact Information:

Chief Shane Gottfriedson, Tribal Spokesperson

Shuswap Nation Tribal Council

680 Athabasca St. W.

Kamloops, BC    V2H 1C4

Click here for a pdf copy: Press Release Mount Polley August 5th 2014

-30-

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Dipnetting with Dad – New Book Written by Willie Sellars

Dipnetting with Dad

Dipnetting With Dad

Written by Willie Sellars
Illustrated by Kevin Easthope

“With action-packed illustrations that are larger than life, Dipnetting with Dad showcases the bond between father and son while introducing readers to a story of tradition and culture that needs to be told.”

— Alan Woo, author of Maggie’s Chopsticks

“Willie’s great book took me back to my own days of fishing on the river... [His] detailed description of the process from ceremony to enjoying the final product is true to our culture. The Indigenous cultures have so much to share and this book contributes to the distribution of this knowledge.”

— Chief Bev Sellars, author of They Called Me Number One

Bump, Bump — Slap, river sockeye salmon are pulled onto shore!

Set in the beautiful landscape of the Cariboo Chilcotin region, Dipnetting with Dad is a delightful and colourful story of a father teaching his son the Secwepemc method of fishing known as dipnetting. Together they visit the Sweat Lodge, mend the nets, select the best fishing spot and catch and pack their fish through
rugged bush back to the family home for traditional preparation.

Willie Sellars is a band member of the Williams Lake Indian Band (T’exelc), which is located fifteen minutes south of the city of Williams Lake, BC. Living on the reserve for the majority of his life, he has been going dip-net fishing with his dad and uncles since he was seven years old. He is currently in his second term as a Councillor for the Williams Lake Indian Band. Willie is married and has two beautiful children, Cash and Milah, and keeps himself busy practicing his culture and playing sports.

Kevin Easthope was born and raised in Williams Lake, BC. He attended UBC Okanagan where he graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree in 2008. While he is an artist and musician, he presently makes a living fighting forest fires for the province of British Columbia.

978-1-927575-53-6
Paper over board
9.5” x 8.5” • 48 pages
Children’s Literature
$16.95

For more information, or to schedule an interview with the authors, contact Andrea Routley at (604) 885-9194 • andrea@caitlin-press.com • www.caitlin-press.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Tsilhqot’in Journey for Justice

Tsilhqot’in Journey for Justice Trip to Ottawa: Check it out on U-Tube   http://youtu.be/QbjIPGqOaMs

Charlene Belleau, Manager, Indian Residential School Unit
Email: cbelleau@afn.ca         Cell: 1 250 305 4701

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed
  • Contact Us

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.