tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Syilx Okanagan Nation stands in solidarity with the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en in their meetings with the federal and provincial governments on Wet’suwet’en Territory.
In the wake of provincial legislation applying the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to BC laws and the federal government’s commitment to introduce similar federal legislation, the Wet’suwet’en crisis shines a national light on the on-going issue of Title and Rights recognition in British Columbia. This long-standing issue has remained largely unresolved despite the 1997 Delgamuukw decision where the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that Wet’suwet’en Title and Rights have never been extinguished.
The Syilx Okanagan Nation calls on the provincial and federal governments to work in good faith with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, charting a pathway forward that both respects Wet’suwet’en Title and Rights and full and meaningful implementation of UNDRIP. Aspirational words about reconciliation are not enough. What is required is full respect and recognition of Indigenous laws, governance, and title and rights, not only for the Wet’suwet’en, but for all Indigenous Nations.
Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, Chair for the Syilx Okanagan Nation has stated that, “Canada and BC must move beyond political mumbling and empty rhetoric and immediately take action to honor the invitation of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.to meet face-to-face. Furthermore the RCMP occupation force must immediately leave Wet’suwet’en Territory and Coastal Gas Link must agree to reroute the pipeline.” He further stated that, “It is time for Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier John Horgan to, ‘walk the walk‘”.
Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, ONA Chair