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Tŝilhqot’in Nation, Canada and B.C. celebrate 10-year title anniversary with renewal of agreement

June 26, 2024 at 3:49 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada – 

“Today, we commemorate a decade since the landmark Tŝilhqot’in Decision, a pivotal moment in Canadian history that affirmed Aboriginal title and recognized the Tŝilhqot’in Nation as the holder of title within their traditional territory. This anniversary emphasizes our ongoing commitment to reconciliation and partnership with all Indigenous Peoples. The renewal of the Gwets’en Nilt’i Pathway Agreement reflects our collective dedication to building a future based on mutual respect, rights, recognition and prosperity for all Canadians. Together with the Tŝilhqot’in Nation and the Province of British Columbia, we are forging a path of shared success for all generations.”

The Honourable David Eby, Premier of British Columbia – 

“A decade after the landmark Tŝilhqot’in Decision, we continue to work with Elders and leaders to find a new way forward in British Columbia based on reconciliation, respect and recognition of rights. B.C. is committed to a progressive and deepening government-to-government relationship with the Tŝilhqot’in Nation because we see time and time again that a rising tide lifts all boats.”

The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations – 

“As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the historic Supreme Court decision affirming the Tŝilhqot’in Nation’s Aboriginal title, we celebrate a decade of continued strength and progress. This landmark ruling has had a real impact and heralded change for the Tŝilhqot’in people in exercising their rights and self-governance, and has set a precedent for title recognition elsewhere. Through the Gwets’en Nilt’i Pathway Agreement and ongoing collaboration between the Tŝilhqot’in Nation, British Columbia and Canada, we have achieved meaningful milestones in nation-to-nation governance, land management, cultural preservation, and community development. Congratulations on the 10-year anniversary.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario – 

“The Tŝilhqot’in Decision paved the way for the Nation to reclaim ownership, jurisdiction and governance, including over children and family services. It allowed for transformative change and for the community to take back their future into their own hands. I also look forward to reaching a contribution agreement so that children can grow in their community, be immersed in their culture, and be surrounded by loved ones. This is essential for every child to have a fair chance to succeed.”

The Honourable Murray Rankin, B.C. Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation – 

“Today, on the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada decision, the Tŝilhqot’in Nation, British Columbia and Canada are continuing to take strides to implement the decision by renewing the Gwets’en Nilt’i Pathway Agreement. When children are safe and cared for in the community, when parents have access to meaningful employment training, when the Tsilqot’in language is being spoken, and when we have strong government-to-government relationships, everyone benefits.”

The Honourable Josie Osborne, B.C. Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation – 

“The landmark Tŝilhqot’in Decision set a precedent that has changed our government’s consultative and engagement processes and shaped many of our initiatives and policies. While we celebrate a milestone today, we know there is much more to do in this generational work. Our government remains committed to continued partnership with Tŝilhqot’in leadership to address long-standing grievances over mining operations and ensure that First Nations’ interests are protected for the benefit of all British Columbians.”

The Honourable George Heyman, B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy – 

“Since 2014, Tŝilhqot’in communities have been at the table informing and shaping the decisions that impact them and their ancestral territories. This includes working on land-use plans for the Tsilhqot’in Nen (lands, waters and resources), which is protecting the declared title lands. The pathway agreement includes a commitment by the parties to work collaboratively to support strong stewardship collaborations. Our provincial government values and applauds this transformative work.”

Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, O.B.C., LL.D. (hon.), tribal chair, Tŝilhqot’in National Government – 

“Today is a day to acknowledge the shift in Indian country. We are the original peoples of this land with this being the first case to fully recognize that on the ground in the form of title. Our case gives hope to Indigenous peoples nationally and internationally. The Nation has been working with Canada and B.C. to secure respect and recognition for our role within this country in determining the future for our people.” 

Nits’ilʔin Otis Guichon, vice-chair, Tŝilhqot’in National Government – 

“We are here today to continue the fight of our War Chiefs that were wrongfully hanged after the Chilcotin War of 1864. Our people, way of life and language unite us as a Nation. Our work is not done. Every day we are building strength as a Nation to overcome the impacts of colonization in our communities and stand up the power of our culture and way of life. The Tsilhqot’in Decision and the Gwets’en Nilt’i Pathway Agreement have empowered our people to focus on healing and improving the lives of our families and communities.”

Nits’ilʔin Roger William, Xeni Gwet’in Nits’ilʔin – 

“June 26, 2014, was the day that title to our land as Indigenous Peoples was finally recognized. Ten years later we are reflecting on the struggle and sacrifice of our journey to title. Our Elders testified in a foreign court system and a foreign language. Their stories were cross-examined over and over, but in the end, the strength of the Elders’ knowledge – of our truth – was unbreakable. This strength carries on with us today as we celebrate as a Nation and a country the impact that the Tsilhqot’in Decision has made on Indigenous rights and title.”

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