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Ministry of Forests

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What people are saying about protection of heritage sites

Angie Bailey, Chief of Aitchlitz First Nation, S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance (STSA) political spokesperson –

“For a very long time, the leadership of our organization, representing the 17 Stó:lō First Nation members of the S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance, have worked toward enhancing our decision-making authorities over activities that affect our lands and our resources. A particular focus has been protecting our sacred heritage sites, including our transformation places, our ancestral cemeteries and our places of cultural practice. These are some of our most sensitive and important places in S’ólh Téméxw (our world), which historically have been badly disrespected. This agreement marks an achievement in our efforts to gain greater recognition of our Indigenous culture and heritage, as well as our Indigenous rights as stewards. Our Old People worked for generations alone in this effort. Now, we are joined by our provincial partners in the Ministry of Forests, jointly working to protect sacred Stó:lō sites and share in making decisions on activities that may affect them. This is a major step forward for First Nations heritage conservation in British Columbia.”

Mark Point, Chief of Skowkale First Nation, STSA executive board member –

“The STSA, and we as Stó:lō people, have lobbied a long time for this moment and we are pleased to celebrate with our partners in B.C. the recognition of our Indigenous world view and Indigenous landscape of sacred sites under this agreement – the first of its kind in the province. For far too long, our sacred sites have been ignored in the eyes of the settlers in our lands. We suffered serious losses to our heritage through the development of our lands over which we have had no say. Now things are changing for the better. Our agreement provides us a voice in decision-making with B.C., and it provides us visibility through the recognition of some of our most sacred sites. We believe that this agreement will be helpful to others and taking similar steps forward in reconciling the relationship between settler and Indigenous landscapes and serving to better care for places a great cultural importance.”

David Schaepe, director, Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre, chair and general manager, STSA, lead negotiator for STSA –

“Developing the Heritage Conservation Act Section 4 Agreement was a tremendous collaborative undertaking. We’ve opened a new chapter in expanding the scope of Indigenous heritage recognition and protection in B.C. This agreement navigates a middle ground of inclusion in what constitutes a truer public heritage. It is making headway, climbing the ladder of shared decision-making. I believe this to be a good precedent for others to work with throughout the province and more broadly.”

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

“Making sure that important cultural, spiritual and heritage sites and objects are protected for the future, and in a way that has decisions being made jointly between government and First Nations, is a vital part of reconciliation. The Declaration Act and the Action Plan have provided guidance and direction for government as we move forward, and this agreement between the Province and S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance is a good example of that.”

Facts about heritage sites on Crown lands within Stó:lō Nation territory

The 45 Stó:lō heritage sites covered by the agreement are located in the Central Fraser Valley, in the Chilliwack and lower Fraser River watersheds.

  • The S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance consists of 17 First Nations:
    • Chawathil First Nation;
    • Cheam First Nation;
    • Kwaw’Kwaw’Apilt First Nation;
    • Scowlitz First Nation;
    • Seabird Island Band;
    • Shxw’ōwhámél First Nation;
    • Skawahlook First Nation;
    • Skwah First Nation;
    • Sumas First Nation;
    • Yale First Nation; and
    • the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe, including:
      • Aitchelitz First Nation;
      • Shxwhà:y Village;
      • Skowkale First Nation;
      • Soowahlie First Nation;
      • Squiala First Nation;
      • Tzeachten First Nation; and
      • Yakweakwioose First Nation.