May 25, 2011,Líl’wat, St’át’imc, in New York at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous IssuesFor Immediate Release:
A delegation from Líl’wat, St’át’imc, is attending the 10
session of the United NationsPermanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, USA, from May 16 to 27, 2011. Lil’wat isone indigenous community of eleven within St’at’imc (STAT-lee-uhm), about 150 miles north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The St’at’imc, otherwise known as the Lillooet Tribe, area sovereign nation.The delegation brings news of two serious actions they are taking to protect themselves fromCanada and British Columbia’s incursions on their aboriginal title, rights and freedoms, and self-determination.The first is a petition to the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. This petition complains of repercussions of the lack of treaty between either Líl’wat or St’át’imc with Canada; repercussions which include the imposition of the
on St’át’imc citizens. Petition 879-07,
Loni Edmonds v. Canada
, was accepted on July 13, 2007,and has still not been reviewed. This petition speaks principally to the lack of treaty between thesovereign nation of St’at’imc, particularly the independent community of Lil’wat, and Canada.The key issue which brings the petition forth is British Columbia’s indiscriminate and whollydestructive practice of seizing our children and removing them to non-indigenous homes. This isin direct contravention of the Geneva Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of theCrime of Genocide, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.The second issue they bring forward is the recent progress of the “St’át’imc SettlementAgreement with BC Hydro” and the province of British Columbia. This Final Agreement withthe public utility BC Hydro Power Corp. has been rejected by a number of concerned citizens for many reasons which fall into two categories: the Agreement itself is inadequate, and the process by which the elected Chiefs manufactured its ratification is an offense to traditional St’át’imcgovernance and even failed to adhere to their own ratification procedures. Construction of damsand generating facilities in St’at’imc territory, to say nothing of the high voltage powerlines andsubstations, has caused irreparable harm to the St’at’imc way of life. We wonder if, in fact wesuspect that, the elected Chiefs were under some sort of duress.The people will be orienting themselves in the international forum to see how their complaintsagainst Canada may be made better known internationally, and resolutions supported. They willalso be encouraging the debate at the Permanent Forum to turn to matters of treaty, or the lack of which, and the culpability of colonial states who deny recognition to the indigenous nationswhose lands and peoples they have co-opted.
Having exhausted the “domestic remedies” available in Canada, the petitioners seek protectionfrom Canada’s persistent interference in their families, communities and in the larger St’át’imcnation socially, politically and economically.They also seek recourse for the ongoing violence against themselves, homelands and their entireway of life. Since provisions in the Canada-legislated
1876, restricting freedom of travel, meeting to discuss the “land question,” and retention of legal counsel were lifted in 1959,Líl’wat and other St’át’imc have been pursuing justice in BC and Canadian courts – where their cases have been improperly thrown out, left unfinished, or concluded unsatisfactorily- ie., thrownout of court when St’at’imc Hereditary Chiefs demand evidence of Canada or British Columbia’sextinguishment of the St’at’imc title and right. Canada cannot provide this evidence because itdoes not exist. The courts seem to defer to Canada.The Líl’wat delegation is releasing this news to the press in hopes that it will be reported as presented for the education of all residents of colonial occupations on indigenous lands.
Attached please find our written submission to the UN PFII 10
Líl’wat, also known as Mt Currie, located north of Whistler, is a St’át’imc community.
A Written submission
To the United Nations 10
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 2011
The Elders of my family named me Pau Tuc la Cimc. According to the government of Canada, Iam James Douglas Louie, certificate of Indian Band Status Number 5570025701.I am a Lil’watimc of the St’at’imc Nation.The Lil’wat, Statimc, declare that our laws were and are oral.The Statimc are a distinct people who, from time immemorial, have shared the same language,culture customs and history. We live within the domain of the Statimc nation which hasoccupied, used, and exercised sovereignty over its land and resources for the collective benefitand freedom of its citizens from time immemorial. We subscribe to our nation’s laws, values andtraditional systems of government to the exclusion of all other jurisdictions which seek to imposealien and assimilative regimes.We, people of Lil’wat of the Statimc Nation, have consistently declared that our land and our rights as a Nation have never been relinquished by ourselves. The Creator placed us here on our land with the right to self-determination. The right to self-determination and the right to exist as
a people is sacred in our way, and is enshrined as Article 1 of both Covenants of the InternationalBill of Rights. We believe we have that right. No one can represent us but us—not Canada, not any church, and no general Aboriginal lobbygroup in Canada. We have exhausted “domestic remedies” within Canada to get justice andrestore our land and our people on our land to their previous state of sovereignty.Only Lil’watmc can speak for the Lil’wat of the Statimc. We are not Canadian and English is notour first language.We have suffered persistently for 150 years under the assertion of jurisdiction being carried out by the Canadian Province of British Columbia. We have suffered the indignities, oppression,dispossession, and deprivation of colonial racism and rule, which have denied us our rights andfreedoms as human beings and our identity as Statimc citizens.We have no immediate way of pursuing Canada for reparations, restitution and restoration, butwe continue to oppose, reject and resist all efforts of the federal and provincial governments toextinguish our title to our traditional lands and resources in exchange for money and small “feesimple” allotments; impositions of the “Indian Act” on our Nation without our consent—theeffect of which is to destroy our claim to nationhood, to redefine us as an ethnic minority and our community as a municipality, to make us subject to property and income taxes and to bring usunder colonial rule; and which the Canadian and BC governments pursue by deceiving our citizens and the general public by broadcasting a pretend consultation process to manufacture theappearance of our consent.Consent, to us, is sacrosanct. We know that our consent to all activity in our nation is protected by international statutes, but we can’t seem to enjoy this protection.While we invite Canada to engage with us to resolve "the land question," or, the unresolvedclaims of British Columbia and Canada against Líl'wat and St'át'imc title, our attempts to raisethese issues have been thrown out or inadequately treated in British Columbia courts and in theSupreme Court of Canada. . We believe this is because the government of Canada has failed toincorporate our international human rights into domestic law derives much from the illegal saleand lease of our lands and resources. We have no treaty with Canada.In our pleading to the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Court (Petition 879-07,Loni Edmond v. Canada), we explain this situation thoroughly. The lead problem addressed inthat petition relates to whether the Government of Canada has the legal right to seize our childrenand place them in foster care. Our young children have, for many generations now, beenindiscriminately taken from their parents by the province. We cannot get redress and we cannotseem to stop the province from ruining our families this way.