Two prominent local members of the Sinixt First Nation are at odds over a recent reburial ceremony at South Slocan.

Statement slanderous, Sinixt caretaker says

The caretaker of the Sinixt burial ground at Vallican says he considers a statement by Marilyn James last month to be slanderous.

The caretaker of the Sinixt village and burial ground at Vallican says he considers a statement by Marilyn James last month to be slanderous.

In an email to the Star, Robert Watt responded to James’ resignation as a local Sinixt spokeswoman over a reburial ceremony at Slocan Pool. She accused him of “colluding” with the Okanagan Nation Alliance and Colville Confederated Tribes to exclude her.

Watt wrote: “I will not speak against Ms. James but I will say that her letter is full of slander.”

He said his main concern was that their ancestor “be put to rest in a respectful and traditional manner by her people. In my heart, I believe this has been accomplished. When dealing with such a serious and sensitive matter, there is no place for politics.”

Watt thanked his “Sinixt relatives who helped bring our ancestor home” as well as members of the broader community who “conducted themselves in a peaceful and respectful manner.”

Watt was appointed caretaker by a council of elders after human remains were disturbed at Vallican during a road construction project in 1989.

Virgil Seymour, the Arrow Lakes facilitator with the Colville Confederation, praised Watt for his assistance in an interview last week, saying they owed him “a great debt.”

James did attend the ceremony, along with about 30 other people from Canada and the US, although she claims she was deliberately given the wrong time. Seymour said he was not in contact with James beforehand, while the chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance said James was welcome to attend.

In February, a hiker discovered bones on the Kootenay River at South Slocan, in an area known to have been home to a Sinixt village. They were determined to belong to a woman, although their precise age is unknown.

Although 64 sets of Sinixt remains have been repatriated to the Vallican site from various institutions and locations, a group of elders decided these bones should be reinterred as close as possible to where they were found because the woman likely had relatives buried nearby.

Just Posted

Cardiac arrest survivor saved by passerby

People who know CPR can now register with a new phone app to notify them of nearby emergencies

Police seek witnesses to fatal weekend accident

Wayne Kernachan was struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident

The 10-mile diet all in one place

Order local food from the comfort of your couch.

Pedestrian killed on Highway 22 Saturday evening

Police say 51-year-old man died after being hit by car

LETTER: Concern for fossil fuel subsidies

From reader Marylee Banyard

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Air force getting more planes but has no one to fly them, auditor warns

The report follows several years of criticism over the Trudeau government’s decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

B.C.’s Esi Edugyan wins $100K Giller prize for Washington Black

Edugyan won her first Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues

Bolder action needed to reduce child poverty: Campaign 2000 report card

The report calls for the federal government to provide more funding to the provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to expand affordable, quality child care.

Judge bars US from enforcing Trump asylum ban

Protesters accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana; complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.”

Ottawa Redblacks defensive back Jonathan Rose suspended for Grey Cup

Rose was flagged for unnecessary roughness and ejected for contacting an official with 37 seconds left in the first half following a sideline melee after a Tiger-Cats reception.

Mistrial declared in Dennis Oland’s retrial in father’s murder

The verdict from Oland’s 2015 murder trial was set aside on appeal in 2016 and a new trial ordered. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

Most Read