Secwepmec oppose vote on Lheidli T’enneh Treaty

Secwepmec oppose vote on Lheidli T’enneh Treaty

The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation is voting this weekend on whether to approve a Treaty. 

If passed, the Treaty would give Lheidli T’enneh lands, a cash settlement, and a range of rights over a large piece of territory in BC.

However, the Treaty would also create rights for Lhedli T’enneh in contested areas. The area defined in the Lheidli T’enneh Treaty - and where Lhedli T’enneh would have rights - will create significant and ongoing boundary disputes between the Lheidli T’enneh and the Secwepemc, and with numerous other nations, including McLeod Lake, Nak’adzli Whut’en, and Sai’kuz. 

The overlapping lands are particularly important to Simcpw First Nation, one of the Secwepemc communities. Simpcw has lived in and thrived on the lands in this area for thousands of years. 

This vote should not be proceeding because these border issues have not been resolved, and there is unfinished business between Lheidli T’enneh and many of its indigenous neighbours, including the Secwepmec. Misinformation has circulated that suggests these boundary disputes have been resolved. Instead, despite Simpcw’s genuine efforts, current Lheidli T’enneh leadership have chosen not to meaningfully engage before the Treaty vote. 

Simpcw Chief Shelly Loring said: “It is wrong for the Treaty to go to vote before boundary issues are resolved between neighbours. Simpcw and Lheidli T’enneh have many of the same interests: community prosperity, self-sufficiency, and reconciliation. Moving to vote on this Treaty before working things out with neighbouring nations will not lead to those outcomes, and especially will not lead to reconciliation. We are asking that members of Lheidli T’enneh vote no on the Treaty.” 

Nathan Matthew, former Chief of Simpcw said: “Simpcw has genuinely encouraged Lheidli T’enneh to work out our boundary disputes for years. Lheidli T’enneh and Simpcw have been neighbours for thousands of years, and we think this boundary dispute must be resolved between neighbours in an honourable manner. 

On behalf of the Secwepemc, Simpcw will defend our territory and its resources. We should not be forced into the courts. We want to work this out peacefully and respectfully with Lheidli T’enneh. We want do to this in a way that upholds our indigenous laws and practices, not one that undermines our laws.”