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

TELUS to install fibre in Nelson

New cable will be in place this year

Nelson wins first round of Strong Towns competition

Voting ends at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 28

Vancouver choir with Nelson roots ‘will fill your heart’

Group directed by three Corazón alumni performs this week in Nelson

Nelson author launches Grocery Story April 7

New book about consumer-owned grocery stores pulls back the curtain on the grocery giants

Cottonwood Lake group applauds RDCK purchase but wants to buy more

Purchased forest covers 33 per cent of land to be logged

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read