“The land is our home and we should all respect it always and never stop. The land gives us a lot of what we need and also our food. - Isaac Dennis, age 12”

Declaration of the Ashnola Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA)

nʔaysnúlaʔxʷ iʔ k̓łluxʷnwixʷmntət

nʔaysnúlaʔxʷ (Ashnola), Keremeos, BC, sməlqmíx / syilxTerritory:  Today, the sməlqmíx, the syilx people of the SimilkameenValleyannounced the designation of a new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) in their territory. The Ashnola IPCA declaration upholds the inherent jurisdiction and responsibility of the sməlqmíx to protect and manage their territories according to sməlqmíx / syilx law.

“We welcome all governments, organizations and individuals who wish to learn more and to work with us, to take advantage of this historic opportunity to align their efforts with our inherent title, laws and management plans,” said kalʔlupaqn, Keith Crow, Lower Similkameen Chief.

Protecting and conserving the water and tmixw (the life force within all four sacred ecosystems) is not the sole burden of sməlqmix / syilx. It should be shared, including by national, provincial and local governments through communication and collaboration.

Through the IPCA, the nʔaysnúlaʔxʷ / Ashnola Watershed in its entirety will be managed by the sməlqmíx in perpetuity for:

  • the protection of the water, the ancestors and air / climate, in accordance with sməlqmíx / syilx law;
  • maintenance and restoration of ecological integrity and sməlqmíx cultural interconnection with the territory through active sməlqmíx management and teaching;
  • the healing and strengthening of the interconnected relationships between water, the earth, and all of those who interact with it. This includes the tmixw (the life force within all four sacred ecosystems),  which are described in our story systems as: the under the earth tribes, the water tribes, the growing on the land  tribes, and the walking and flying on the earth tribes of living beings;
  • the spiritual, cultural and physical sustenance of the sməlqmíx people, including sustainable economic opportunities consistent with our responsibilities in the Ashnola.

“The Ashnola is one of the last pristine stream systems in sməlqmíx territory. Protecting the cold, pure waters of our watershed is essential if the smelqmix, the land, all beings, as well as settlers to the Similkameen, are to thrive in a time of climate change and increasing water scarcity,” said xitulaʷ Ira Edward, Lower Similkameen Councillor.

A new kiosk and interpretative signage accompany the Ashnola IPCA designation, which was made at a ceremony in the watershed today, attended by dignitaries, elders, nation members, provincial, federal and local government representatives, and neighbouring nations.

Licensees and non-sməlqmíx water and land users in the watershed will be given notice regarding how the new IPCA declaration will affect them.

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To arrange interviews, please contact:
Lauren Terbasket: 250-499-1940
laurenterbasket@gmail.com

Declaration documents available online: https://www.lsib.net/?page_id=3823

naysnúlaʔxʷ (Ashnola) IPCA Declaration Poster: English | nsyilxcən
naysnúlaʔxʷ (Ashnola) IPCA Informational Two-Pager
naysnúlaʔxʷ (Ashnola) IPCA Legal Backgrounder Booklet
naysnúlaʔxʷ (Ashnola) IPCA Frequently Asked Questions

 

Land Department Information Release – Jan 18, 2022

 

Community Nomination Meeting

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Please see the Invitation Zoom link below for the Meeting tonight for the Nominations of the Electoral & Returning Officers

Please Share accordingly for anyone that maybe interested, Thank you

August 25, 2021

Time: 5:00pm to 6:00pm

IN PERSON Meeting will be hosted in the Council Chambers

Note: Anyone that may need to wear masks, those will be provided upon entrance to Building/Meeting space

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3892273647?pwd=anB1VHlxTWIwRkR6b0h1bFJBZDhzZz09

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 389 227 3647

Passcode: LSIB21 (PASSWORD IS BEEN REMOVED)

 

Media Release :UNPRECEDENTED PROVINCIAL MINISTERIAL ORDER GRANTS BAND ACCESS TO PROTECT ANCESTRAL REMAINS

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

Mobile:  1-250-499-9333

www.lsib.net/about-us/ancestralremains

 

 

Media Release: ON SEPTEMBER 11 BAND VOWS TO RECOVER AND REBURY ANCESTR

kłałq̓ʷiwas (Cawston, BC), sməlqmix/ Syilx Territory: Today the Lower Similkameen Indian Band (LSIB) announced that they are taking affirmative action on September 11 to ensure the expedited recovery and reburial of desecrated ancestral remains to their original burial grounds. Over 120 people gathered to support LSIB at the Day of Action on the site where approximately 500 exposed bones were recovered over a year and a half ago. To date the Provincial government has failed to enact the Heritage Conservation Act.

Since the original announcement Minister Donaldson of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations has stated that the Province will be moving forward with a Section 34 restoration order. This is the first time this section has been evoked.

Chief Crow announced, “Whether the Province chooses to follow through with their commitments, we are moving forward and standing in action with community support.  We are going to finish the recovery on September 11; we are not stopping until our ancestors are reburied.”

LSIB, and the Okanagan Nation, insist that the Province of BC must uphold their own laws and policies through the Heritage Conservation Act and ensure the site is protected and the remains are respectfully reburied.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip followed this stating that “What we hear from the Trudeau government and the incoming provincial NDP government is that they intend to respect and follow through with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, but public platitudes are not good enough. We need to see those expressions of good intentions to translate for the necessary legislative reform, policy reform that will enable us to respect our own laws and our own teachings, and do what we are obligated to do in terms of protecting our land and protecting our people”.

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. LSIB was granted temporary access to collect approximately 500 exposed remains but additional collection is required. In the face of this challenge, an archeological impact assessment permit has not been granted to fully determine the extent of the burial grounds. A year and a half has passed and the government has yet to provide a meaningful solution to the issue.

About Lower Similkameen Indian Band: We, the sməlqmix 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

Mobile:  1-250-499-9333

www.lsib.net/about-us/ancestralremains

 

Media Advisory: LSIB Holds Day of Action to Ensure Respectful Reburial of Ancestral Remains

kłałq̓ʷiwas (Cawston, BC), sməlqmix/ Syilx Territory: Under the guidance of elders, on August 31, 2017, the Lower Similkameen Indian Band (LSIB) will host a Day of Action to announce an affirmative strategy to ensure the expedited reburial of exposed ancestral remains to their original burial grounds.

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. LSIB was granted temporary access to collect approximately 500 exposed remains but additional collection is required. In the face of this challenge, an archeological impact assessment permit has not been granted to fully determine the extent of the burial grounds. A year and a half has passed and the government has yet to provide a meaningful solution to the issue.

As Chief Keith Crow of LSIB states “We have been very patient waiting for this to happen, and for the property owners to sign the permit so that we can go to work. We’ve had all our information in place within the first month. We had everything done and ready to go to work last summer and now we are here where we are today. We were promised that we would be on site in July of 2017, we’re in August, work has not happened yet because they can’t get the permits signed”.

“There’s a universal acknowledgment that burial sites, cemeteries and sacred places are indeed sacred and should not be desecrated for real estate purposes”, adds Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, furthering that “What we are spiritually obligated to do in accordance with Syilx Law and custom is to take care of our ancestors, plain and simple”.

The Province of BC must uphold their own laws and policies through the Heritage Conservation Act and ensure the site is protected and the remains are respectfully reburied.

Schedule of Events- August 31, 2017
10:00: Meet at the corner of Daly Drive & Upper Bench Rd, Cawston, BC. Parking available on location
10:30 – Opening prayers and greetings
10:40 – Media announcements from Chief Keith Crow and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
11:00 – Site visit to perimeters of the property

For further information please contact:
Chief Keith Crow, LSIB
Mobile: 1-250-499-9333