We are writing to clarify our position and what happened at the Columbia River Treaty consultation at the Rod and Gun Club last Tuesday (November 27).
An ad hoc group of people organized a very simple protest whose sole purpose was to ask why the Sinixt Nation has not been formally included in the treaty consultation process. We were being silent, to signal our solidarity with the Sinixt peoples who have been legislatively silenced by their formal extinction (1956) and by institutions and processes that refuse to recognize that they continue to exist as a people and as a nation alongside Canada.
Our small group that had symbolically wrapped ourselves up in red tape, were not the only people at the event who spoke out in solidarity with Sinixt; several other individuals in the audience, including the woman who spoke at the very beginning, had questions and comments for the organizers.
We would like to clear up a misperception; no one from our group spoke on behalf of our group. We came to respectfully affirm that the Sinixt people, on whose territory we stand, are not being consulted in the Columbia River Treaty renegotiation process.
Their input as the original inhabitants and caretakers of this land is essential to a treaty of integrity. The long history of this land and the well-being of the ancestral human and non-human communities who share it with us must be considered and upheld.
We do not speak for the Sinixt Nation, but in consultation with them. We uphold their right to be heard.
Sinixt Nation are the sovereign caretakers of sinixt tum’xula7xw (territory), located in the area now known as the interior of BC, Canada, extending north of Revelstoke as far south as Kettle Falls, WA, and surrounded by the Monashee and Purcell Mountains.
In 1956, the government of Canada declared the Sinixt extinct and has refused ever since to allow Sinixt people inherent right to Sinixt interests, including land title, in our territory. For over 25 years the appointed Sinixt Nation representatives have actively protected and stood up for Sinixt lands and interests and the interests of the local community in regards to watershed protection in the northern part of our territory.
For more information about the Sinixt, visit their interesting and informative website at sinixtnation.org.