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Sn̓ ʕaýckstx (Sinixt) to Celebrate Historic Court Victory in Nelson

By Contributor
June 6th, 2022

Andy Joseph Jr., Chairman of the Sn̓ ʕaýckstx (Sinixt) Confederacy and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, recently announced that a long- awaited ceremony and celebration will be held on June 10, 2022 at Lakeside Park in Nelson British Columbia.

The celebration is being held to honor the April 23, 2021 landmark decision from the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Desautel, which affirmed that the Sn̓ ʕaýckstx are an Aboriginal Peoples of Canada with a constitutionally protected right to hunt in their traditional territory in Canada, erasing the infamous “extinction declaration” of 1956.

Chairman Joseph said that April 23, 2021 was a historic day for both the Sn̓ ʕay̓ckstx and other cross-border tribes across the continent, and welcomes everyone to this special celebration, which was regrettably delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is one of the biggest Indigenous law cases in recent history and I am proud of our people and our ancestors,” Chairman Joseph said.

“The Desautel decision has profound implications for cross- border peoples around the entire continent and beyond, and will change the way we see the “invisible lines” of international borders and concepts of citizenship and identity.”

“We look forward and are excited to be on our homelands celebrating with our guests,” he added. This case is not about hunting; it is about healing. What happened to us and our territory wounded everyone. Now is the chance for everyone to heal.”

The agenda for June 10 was announced to include the following:

  • 11:00 a.m. Community Lunch at the Rotary Shelter in Lakeside Park
  • 12:00 p.m. Ceremony and Celebration of the extinction reversal
  • 5:00 p.m. Unveiling of mural at 685 Baker St by artist Ric Gendron
  • 6:00 p.m. Community Dinner hosted by Touchstones Nelson Museum at 502 Vernon Street
  • 7:30 p.m. Music by celebrated Snʕāyckst artist Tony Louie at the Capitol Theatre
  • 8:30 p.m. World premiere of “Older Than the Crown” by Snʕāyckst filmmaker

Derrick J. Lamere, followed by a Q & A session Chairman Joseph, said June 10 will be a memorable event for everyone in attendance:

“A celebration like this, where communities can come together, is exactly what is required for truth and reconciliation, and is especially powerful as Nelson celebrates its 125th anniversary. This ceremony will lead us all forward to reflection, recognition and acknowledgment of the history of our territory and this city. As we recognize Rick’s fortitude in seeing this trailblazing decision through four levels of court, we embark down a new path of reconciliation and healing, away from our histories of colonization, dispossession and assimilation.

“We have survived each other, survived our histories since creation, even now we are surviving a pandemic together. Just like our ancestors, púti kwu aláʔ(we are still here). We invite you to stand as witnesses as we honor this historic day – April 23, 2021.”

About the Colville Tribes:

Today, more than 9,354 descendants of 12 aboriginal tribes of Indians are enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of the Colville. The twelve tribes which compose the Confederated

Tribes of the Colville Reservation include: ščəlámxəxw (deep water) or Chelan ̕; walwáma ̕ (Wallowa people) or Chief Joseph Band of Nez Perce; sx̌wyʔiɬp (sharp pointed trees) or

Colville; šnt̕iyátkwəxw (grass in the water) or Entiat; snʕáyckst (speckled fish) or Lakes; mətxwu (blunt hills around a valley) or Methow; škwáxčənəxw (people living on the bank) or

Moses-Columbia; nspilm (prairie) or Nespelem; uknaqin (seeing over the top) or Okanogan; palúšpam (people from Palouse) or Palus; sənpʕwilx (grey mist as far as one can see) or San Poil, and šnp̓ əšqwáw̓ səxw (people in between) or Wenatchi.

About the snʕaýckstx (Sinixt) Confederacy:

Formerly known as the Arrow Lakes Aboriginal Society, the Confederacy has been established to represent snʕaýckstx people on both sides of the international border, regardless of tribal or band affiliation, in a manner consistent with Indigenous law and traditions.

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