OSOYOOS, BRITISH COLUMBIA (October 21, 2022) – The Osoyoos Indian Band (“OIB”) and Okanagan Nation Alliance (“ONA”) are outraged at the conduct of the Community Safety Unit in raiding a local business without the OIB’s consent. On October 19, 2022, after previously assuring OIB’s Chief and Council that they would not enter OIB lands without the consent of the community’s leadership, investigators with the Community Safety Unit (“CSU”) entered onto OIB lands and seized inventory from a local cannabis retail business. The CSU is a law enforcement body operated by the provincial Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General that is responsible for compliance and enforcement under the BC Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.
“Osoyoos Indian Band takes its responsibility to ensure public safety in our community very seriously,” said Chief Clarence Louie, the long-standing Chief of OIB and Chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s Chiefs Executive Council, “but we also take seriously our sovereignty and jurisdiction over our lands. The CSU’s conduct in entering our lands without our consent after expressly advising us that they would not do so is unacceptable and undermines our efforts to work collaboratively with the provincial government. In this era of reconciliation, this is clearly not the way to build mutual trust and respect. These outdated, heavy handed government tactics of ignoring our governance role on our lands have no place in this era. Both the Prime Minister and Premier of BC have committed to Nation-to-Nation relationships with First Nations based on respect, but it is the opposite of respect for the Province to impose its authority on our reserves.”
OIB is a member of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, the representative body that works to protect, defend and advance the rights and interests of the syilx Okanagan Nation. The ONA has long advocated for the recognition of the jurisdiction of its member communities and has also expressed serious concern with the conduct of the CSU in this case. The ONA is committed to supporting OIB and all the ONA’s member communities to secure recognition of their jurisdiction over their lands and communities.
Chief Clarence Louie, Osoyoos Indian Band
Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications Lead
T: (250) 707-0095 ext 120