~ Proposed Yale Treaty will Prevent Stó:lō from Fishing in the Fraser Canyon ~  
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Grand Chief Clarence Pennier,
President and Tribal Chief for Aboriginal Rights and Title

Greetings all. It has been some time since we reported on our activities.

The Stó:lō Tribal Council remains outside the BC Treaty Process but we do participate at First Nations Summit, Chief Negotiators, Unity Protocol and Common Table meetings. We do this to make sure that we are kept up to date on all activities related to treaty issues. Many resolutions are passed at the First Nations Summit meetings to have the Summit Task Group meet with Government officials urging them to change their mandates at the treaty negotiations.

The latest attempt was by the Common Table where all parties (BC, Canada, First Nations) participated in discussions regarding six issues: Fisheries, Lands, Revenue Sharing, Co-management, Certainty and Taxation/Own Source Revenue. The purpose of these sessions was for the Parties to come to agreement on what mandate changes could be recommended through the Government processes. We all have to wait to see what happens down the road now that there is a Federal Government election in progress.

We participate with the Coast Salish (Canadian and American) in meetings with representatives from the Canadian Government and Washington State Government. We have discussions and develop action plans to help keep the pollution down in the Salish Sea – Georgia and Juan de Fuca Straits.

As a part of the Canoe Journey that ended at Cowichan Bay for the North American Indigenous Games, 5 of the Canoes helped with a study to determine water conditions as they traveled from their respective homelands. One of the canoes to do the testing started from Chilliwack. It was a successful project and there will be testing done each year.

We maintain a good working relationship with the First Nations Policing Unit. This is to make sure that we know what is happening in some of our communities especially if it is related to drugs. They have a responsibility to try and make all of our communities a safer place. Each Community should have a protocol agreement with them so that each side knows what the other is supposed to be doing.

On the Specific Claims file, we worked with the Alliance of Tribal Nations to have the research done on the 5 Mile Fishery (Fraser Canyon) and to continue on the New Westminster reserves. The 5 Mile Fishery includes the Reserves that were allocated to the Yale Indian Band. Also, Stó:lō families had certain fishing spots in the Canyon that have been handed down from generation to generation. Most of the families are not Yale members.

The New Westminster claim involves three reserves that were used back in the mid to late 1800’s as gathering places for Stó:lō coming down to work. The people also gathered to listen to Governor Seymour and others make their promises to share the resources.

  Allocation or
    modern expropriation?

Under the B.C. Treaty Process, the Yale Indian Band has negotiated a treaty for both lands and resources in the Fraser Canyon. The negotiations for the treaty largely took place behind closed doors, leaving other Stó:lō  First Nations who  enjoy both aboriginal title and fishing rights in the Fraser Canyon to speculate about how a treaty with the Yale Indian Band will affect their rights. 

The time for guesswork is now over and the picture that has emerged from the treaty talks with the Yale Indian Band is both disturbing and deplorable.

The Yale Treaty is now at Stage Five of the B.C. Treaty Process, Negotiation to Finalize a Treaty.  There means there is only one more stage remaining for the Yale Treaty, Stage Six, Implementation of the Treaty. 

Under the Yale Treaty, Indian & Northern Affairs Canada, MP Chuck Strahl’s ministry, plans to turn over 12 reserves near the township of Yale directly to the Yale Indian Band. Additionally, Indian & Northern Affairs has agreed to dole out millennia’s old Stó:lō fishing in the Fraser Canyon to Chief Robert Hope’s band. And the Kuthlath Indian Reserve #3, which is currently registered to Shxw’ow’hámel First Nation under the Indian Act of Canada, will also be confiscated and shunted to the Yale Indian Band.

The hard feelings stirred up by the Yale Treaty over the pending removal of the Kuthlath reserve from Shxw’ow’hamel has prompted the community to invite Stó:lō Tribal Council leaders and government bureaucrats to a meet on September 11, 2008 to discuss the federal government’s one sided decision to hijack the Kuthlath reserve to make a treaty with the Yale Indian Band.   

Presumably, a pledge from Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl, has promoted the Yale band council to fence in the Kuthlath reserve and post no trespass sings.

And to add insult to injury, the Yale band council removed a cherished Stó:lō  memorial plaque at the Iyem cemetery and disinterred Stó:lō human remains without the permission of the Shx’ow’hamel at Kuthlath.

For those who may doubt the legitimacy of Stó:lō  rights in the Fraser Canyon, consider the following: In 1905, the BC superintendent of Indian Affairs met with a large group of Stó:lo leaders in the Fraser Canyon and mapped family-owned fishing sites. Most of the fishing site owners lived in downriver communities, a fact largely attributable to a  late-nineteenth-century migration from the Fraser Canyon to Fraser Valley. 

Chief Robert Hope claims that the Fraser Canyon belongs only to his band. He also denies any linguistic, cultural and family ties with the Stó:lō . However, the genealogical record shows that he is a direct descendent of a Stó:lō family.  Our elders even remember the day in the 1960’s that Chief Hope’s family was voted in as members of the Yale Indian Band, having transferred their band membership from the Seabird Island First Nation. Chief Hope’s mother was a Shaw, born and registered to Cheam First Nation. Both the Seabird Island First Nation and the Cheam First Nation are Stó:lō .

The fishing grounds and sites in the Fraser Canyon are the legacy of the  Stó:lo.  The ancient villages, transformer sites and family- owned fishing stations all have Halq’eméylem names. These names and places confirm the longstanding relationship between the Stó:lo and the Fraser Canyon. A short list of Stó:lō  places in the Fraser Canyon includes the Three Sister Rocks, three-transformation sites known as Qelqeloqtel, Q’oyits, the Elk Rock transformation site and Stsaletstel, the “chair” “seat” transformation site. All of these places are linked to the Xe:xá:ls, “the transformers”, who traveled through Stó:lō homelands shaping the land and resources into the forms that we are familiar with today.

The Fraser Canyon is rich with Stó:lō history including traditional family names and family-owned fishing sites. Both the Fraser Canyon reserves and the family fishing spots in the region do not belong to the Yale Indian Band. These special locations are the birthright of the entire Stó:lō  Nation. These realities appear not to have been factored into either the negotiations or the ethical standards of government treaty negotiators or the bureaucrats in Minister Chuck Strahl’s department.  

The, Stó:lō Tribal Council supports the installation of a new memorial plaque at the Iyem cemetery . And the Stó:lō  Tribal Council expects that the Stó:lō  human remains disinterred at Kuthlath, likely with the blessing of the Minister of Indian Affairs, will be returned and laid to rest in their rightful places. A date will be set in the near future for a gathering to remove the signs and fences at Kuthlath. And on that same day, a day a ceremony will be held to replace the memorial cherished plaque.  And from now on the Stó:lō  Tribal Council pledges to help protect both Stó:lō  fishing sites in the Fraser Canyon and the remains of our beloved ancestors from more ghoulish vandalism.  

  The New Outreach Team

Stó:lō Tribal Council welcomes three new employees to the Lands and Resources department within Rights and Title this summer. The two Lands and Resource management coordinators are Frank Andrew (Seabird Island) and Carrielynn Victor (Cheam). As well the new lands department includes Tanya Macdonald (Soowahlie) in the Lands Clerk position.

The Lands and Resources Outreach team will be hosting community consultation meetings

soon, these information gathering sessions will be used in the development of an inclusive Land and Natural Resource Plan. And the Land and Resource Plan will assist with the development of a process to deal with land referral applications. Stó:lō Tribal Council is seeking to assist communities with this process, the STC technical team will be working with other lands teams in Stó:lō  territory for better correlated processes. The website will also gain from the input members have, with more updates in the near future.

The outreach team is currently reaching out into communities seeking interested people to participate in the community meetings, a committee will be formed once the sessions get rolling, the committee has been named the Lands and Resources Strategic Planning Committee (L&RSPC). Participants of all ages are encouraged to come and join the discussions. Coordinators will be working out of each member community so if you are interested in participating, the coordinator will assist you with further information.  




Stó:lō research has uncovered health risks of EMFs!

What are Electro Magnetic Fields (EMFs)?

Until the 20th century the greatest known emitter of EMFs was the sun. Today human-made EMFs overwhelm natural ones.

EMFs are waves of energy produced by any object that generates an electric charge. The major sources of EMFs in your home are:

  • Cell and cordless phones
  • Wireless routers
  • Lighting
  • Computers/Laptops
  • Televisions

Different sources give off different amounts and types of EMFs. In all cases, the closer you are to the source, the higher your exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

Wireless technologies, complex electronics and some types of energy efficient lighting increase the EMF levels in Stó:lō homes.

Download the Stó:lō EMF Bright Ideas Pamphlet .PDF [1 mb]

Download the Stó:lō EMF Results Pamphlet .PDF [1.1 mb]


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