About the SXTA's Governance vision for the future.
And the next steps.
Each slide is designed to offer you a full perspective, but if you want to dive deeper, you can explore the links that will help you on your journey.
Let's Talk Treaty
Many have asked: “Why treaty now?”
In reality - our ancestors began this struggle over 150 years ago – a situation that became known as the “Land Question.”
Th’eláchiyatel Chief Richard Malloway at the UBCIC AGM in 1975.
“We’re sitting on the biggest question that exists in this province today and it’s this question alone - How did Canada, how did British Columbia get our land?”
- Grand Chief Steven Point, 2012 History of Treaty Workshop Stó:lō Nation
Ewéta Indian Act No more Indian Act
In 1884, the Indian Act BANNED the potlatch, the root of our self-government.
And until 1951, it was ILLEGAL to pursue our Aboriginal rights and title! The treaty is our chance to get out from under the Indian Act and move back toward Stó:lō laws.
Going back to the beginning...
The Stó:lō have been fighting for Aboriginal Rights & Title to their traditional territory for more than 150 years.
“I think that the issue of Aboriginal claims is one of the few issues where going back to the very beginning is essential to understanding what’s going on now...”
WATCH LATER: Check out this First Nations Treaty History video with archival footage of Frank Calder talking to a member of the public about why the land problem must be solved at 6:47 and Joe Gosnell at 8:43 pointing out how long the Nisga’a had been fighting for land rights.
- Paul Tennant Author of Aboriginal Peoples and Politics: The Indian Land Question in B.C.
What is treaty?
Since You Asked: Grand Chief Steven Point Answers
Simply put, it is an agreement between nations.
What is a treaty?
11 numbered treaties were negotiated between 1871 and 1921 in post-confederate Canada and included treaty rights in exchange for Indigenous land.
Negotiated between 1975 and present and includes James Bay, Tlicho, Yukon, Nisga’a, Tsawwassen Maa-nulth and Tla’amin. Critics don’t like extinguishment language.
Non-extinguishment based. This is the first of its kind in Canada!
Modern / Comprehensive land claims
SXTA Core Treaty
Groundbreaking Changes to our Treaty
The Rock and the Tree
Xélxeylamós is the transformation rock and is the fixed part of our treaty. This will encompass the principles and key commitments.
Xpá:yelhp is the red cedar tree that grows from the rock and is the living part of our treaty. This will grow and evolve as our relationship with Canada and BC changes in a new government-to-government relationship.
S’ÓLH LETS’EMÓ:T / OUR ONE THOUGHT
On October 12, 2018, the SXTA moved into Stage 5 of the BC Treaty Process with an innovative approach to Treaty negotiations.
Sxexó:mes / Our Gifts (air) (burnings)
KEY SXTA TREATY PRINCIPLES
Stó:lō Aboriginal rights and title form the basis of the treaty and will not be extinguished.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples- UNDRIP will be incorporated into the treaty.
The treaty will be adaptable and changeable over time. This is not a full and final settlement.
The federal government has promised that past loans for negotiating will be forgiven and as of 2018, all further negotiations will be loan free.
A model for all treaties
SXTA’s Chief negotiator Chief Terry Horne says this window of time is precious and that we need to hold government’s feet to the fire, especially on the non-extinguishment clause.
“It’s never been done before anywhere in the world and if we succeed this treaty will be a model for all other treaties in the future!”
Will we lose our Aboriginal Rights and Title?
The answer is simply no!
Will I lose my Status card?
NO, we will not lose our status cards. Even though, with treaty we move OUT FROM UNDER the management of the Indian Act, we will retain all the benefits of Status Indians. And once we are in treaty we hope to add more.
How is it different from other treaties?
Our treaty will say in black and white that it does not extinguish Stó:lō Aboriginal rights and title. It will be consistent with UNDRIP. All of those ideas are very important to Stó:lō. The door is open. The Federal and Provincial governments have agreed to sit down and negotiate all of these things.
Self-Reliance on S’ólh Téméxw Our Land
We will add a minimum of 24,463.43 acres of land, to our existing land, for which we will have full control and lawmaking powers. Nothing will happen on those lands without our full consent.
The Stó:lō Shxwelméxwelh/Constitution is Xá:xa / Sacred
We will govern ourselves under our own Shxwelméxwelh/Constitution and laws through our National and Village governments. We will no longer be governed by the Indian Act.
All existing benefits (e.g. health, social security, and pensions) will continue. We will have law-making authority over health and social services, including children and families.
Taxes for our members:
We are negotiating to retain existing tax exemptions and our intention is that members will not pay property tax on treaty lands.
Taxes paid by others:
We will receive income tax paid by non-members on Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw lands which will come back to our government.
As well, Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid at businesses on Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw lands will come back to our government.
People of the Xwelmexwawtxw / longhouse
We will maintain control over our own citizenship. Villages that have established their own membership codes will maintain control of those codes.
S'xweta:s Selh Tset te Mekw' Stam The Way We Were with Everything
CULTURE & HERITAGE
We will enhance our Halq’eméylem language, and protect our Stó:lō culture and heritage, including spiritual sites and access for practices.
Theqthéqet / Resources
We will maintain and enhance há:we/hunting of sméyeth/game/meat; sth’ó:qwi/fish, and lhemét/ pick something/ gathering rights, and will have shared decision-making over the use of Theqthéqet /(Forest) resources, including revenue-sharing, outside of treaty lands and within S’ólh Téméxw.
Sth’ó:qwi / Fish
We will protect our right to fish, our fishing sites, access to our fishing sites, fish habitat, and our fishing traditions.
We will be saving water for our Xwelmi:ay staxwelh/future generations
Shxw’éyelth / To be in good health
COMMUNITY HEALTH & WELL-BEING
We will not lose our status; nor our benefits. Dental benefits, pharmacy benefits, addictions treatment programs, eye care and mental health benefits will continue to be available to those who now have “status” in Canada (“status” as defined in the Indian Act). We have set our sights much higher than what we have today, and will not settle for anything less. If anything, benefits and services will be enhanced.
Shxwtále’álá / Purse
Canada will provide $150 million as a one-time payment.
This is NOT the only money provided under the Treaty. There will be more money provided annually to fund self-government and programs & services. This is not a reliance on the Canadian Government, but is similar to the annual equal payments to Provinces, that support their operations and provision of services and programs. This is a recognition of us as another government.
Ewe chexw qelqelilt te mekw' stam loy qw'esli hokwex yexw lamexw ku:t Don’t ruin (waste, destroy) everything, just take what you need
Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw Role Outside Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw Lands
During Stage 5 we will negotiate Shared Decision Making with respect to land use in S'ólh Téméxw. We will have the right to participate in public planning processes that may address shared decision-making, revenue and benefit sharing, and to benefit from future provincial programs, policies or initiatives of BC.
We will also have the right to make economic development agreements and arrangements with third parties.
What are the other options?
STAY UNDER THE INDIAN ACT!
Settle for less and less funding, no more land, and uncertainty
GO TO COURT
We might be in court for another 20 years with NO GUARANTEE on the outcome.
We get more land;
Have law-making authority to protect our culture, lands and resources;
We become self-sufficient and self-governing;
PLUS treaty is protected under the highest law in the land - the Constitution.
Why are we in Treaty . . .
Shxwetélemel-elhót Chief Maureen Chapman of Sq’ewá:lxw says she wants more decision-making authority and for the next generation to know what self-government is.
Next steps: A vote on our Constitution
What is a constitution?
- Grand Chief Steven Point, 2012 History of Treaty Workshop Stó:lō Nation
Shxwelméxwelh means the Stó:lō way and is our word for constitution
"All nations have principles by which their citizens agree to be governed. When these are written down, the document is called a constitution."
Describes who we are, what is important to us, and how our teachings (s’í:wes) will inform our own government.
Is the highest Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw law.
Can grow and change as our nation changes.
WHY DO WE NEED ONE?
Guides us in taking control of our own destiny.
Describes how we can make our own rules based on our culture and traditions.
Provides an alternative to colonizing powers of the Indian Act, which we will no longer live under.
“We’re not our reserves. We’re not our identity cards ... We need to recreate ourselves and march towards nationhood as Stó:lō people -- put our smokehouse blankets back on and put our cedar hats back on. Because when we sit down and negotiate a treaty with the Federal government, I don’t want to go and say I’m a member of Skowkale, the band that was created in 1880 for me. I would like to stand and say I’m a Stó:lō Nation citizen and I represent 6,000 Stó:lō and this is our country…”
- Grand Chief Steven Point
Get out and vote on our Constitution November 2020.
Volunteer/Help us engage people in your community.