On June 22, 2012, the Chiefs ofthe Shuswap Nation Tribal Council (“SNTC”) joined other Chiefs within the Secwpemc Nation and signed a Unity Declaration.
The signing of the final draft marked a significant point in the history of the Secwepemc Nation.
“Through colonial government actions, such as the establishment of reserve lands and legislation that restricted travel by the Secwepemc, the Secwepemc Nation became divided into distinct areas. Lilt has taken years to create the fractured Nation and yet today the people and leaders understand the importance of a unified nation and formalized this unity through the declaration”, stated Tribal Chief Shane Gottfriedson.
The Secwepemc Nation traditional territory extends over a large tract of land and the use and occupancy of these lands have never been surrendered, sold or extinguished.
Recently, the Tsilhqot’in National Government (“TNG”) attempted to encroach upon our traditional territory and make claims to petroglyph rock that was being repatriated to the Secwepemc territory.
“The action of TNG in their false and misguided claims is an insult to our Elders and leaders. We know for certain that the land that they claim is not their territory, but belongs to the Secwepemc people. As well, we feel it is very important to set the record straight through educating the general public and the TNG and by standing up for our brothers and sisters in unity”, stated Tribal Chief Shane Gottfriedson.
The Unity Declaration 2012 states “We will never cede, sell or surrender our title and rights and will uphold our sacred responsibilities as Kukukwpi7 and Tk’wenip7le; and we recognize Secwepemctsin and historic kinship relations as Secwepemc and honor our continuing relationship to one another within Secwepemcul’ecw. Therefore, we as SNTC Chiefs, issue this statement of support to the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council Chiefs efforts to protect the Secwepemc territory from infringement by others.”