kłałq̓ʷiwas (Cawston, BC), sməlqmix/ Syilx Territory: Today, with support from the Province of BC, the Lower Similkameen Indian Band (LSIB) moved forward with our commitment to affirmative action in recovering and reburying our desecrated ancestral remains. With Chiefs, elders, community members and law enforcement present, a technical team legally entered the premise to begin the work of respectfully recovering the remains.
The recovery and reburial of these ancestral remains marks an unprecedented action by the Province, who engaged Section 14.4 of the Heritage Conservation Act and provided a Heritage Ministerial Order Permit to LSIB. The Ministerial Order ensures that this reburial is expedited and sanctioned. The decision is an outcome of a leadership gathering last week between Chief Keith Crow, the Honorable Minister Doug Donaldson (Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), and the Honorable Minister Scott Fraser (Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation).
Chief Keith Crow stated that “After over a year and half of waiting I’m so thankful to finally be going in the right direction, and have this issue addressed right now. The current NDP government has been responsive and respectful. Moving forward, this decision is a step in the right direction for meaningful Nation to Nation relations within the Province of BC”.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip followed this stating that “We applaud the Horgan government for taking responsible, respectful, decisive actions, and today our technical people will take the actions necessary to properly attend to the remains of our ancestors”.
About the Similkameen Ancestral Remains: The burial ground was desecrated on February 29, 2016 and since this time LSIB have not been able to fully recover the remains of our ancestors on the site. Under the Liberal government, LSIB was granted temporary access to collect approximately 500 exposed remains but additional collection was required. In the face of this challenge, an archeological impact assessment permit was not granted to fully determine the extent of the burial grounds. In response to this LSIB held a Day of Action, committing to the reburial of these remains regardless of the decision of the Province.
About Lower Similkameen Indian Band: We, the smalqmix of the sukwnaquin-x, are a member of the Syilx/Okanagan Nation and are located in the Similkameen Valley. We are committed to preserve our land, culture, and traditions to enhance the quality of life for ourselves and future generations. Our priority is to empower ourselves to build a holistic community that is healthy, self-sufficient, independent and strong.
For further information please contact:
Chief Keith Crow, LSIB