The following is the text version of a pamphlet put out by the Lil'wat Peoples Movement in 1991. Each section represents a different section of the original pamphlet. Formatting has been kept as close to the original as possible.
We the underwritten chiefs of the Lillooet tribe (being all the chiefs of said tribe) declare as follows:
We speak the truth, and we speak for our whole tribe, numbering about 1400 people at the present time. We claim that we are the rightful owners of our tribal territory, and everything pertaining thereto. We have always lived in our country; at no time have we ever deserted it, or left it to others. We have retained it from the invasion of other tribes at the cost of our blood. Our ancestors were in possession of our country centuries before the whites came. It is the same as yesterday when the latter came, and like the day before when the first fur trader came. We are aware the B.C. government claims our country, like all other Indian territories in B.C.; but we deny their right to it. We never gave it nor sold it to them. They certainly never got the title to the country from us, neither by agreement nor conquest, and none other than us could have any right to give them title. In early days we considered white chiefs like a superior race that never lied nor stole, and always acted wisely and honorably. We expected they would lay claim to what belonged to themselves only. In these considerations we have been mistaken, and gradually have learned how cunning, cruel, untruthful and thieving some of them can be. We have felt keenly the stealing of our lands by the B.C. government, but we could never learn how to get redress. We felt helpless and dejected but lately we begin to hope. We think that perhaps after all we may get redress from the greater white chiefs away in the King's country, or in Ottawa. It seemed to us all white chiefs and governments were against us, but now we commence to think we may yet get a measure of justice.
We have been informed of the stand taken by the Thompson River, Shuswap, and Okanagan tribes, as per their declaration of July 16th, 1910. We have learned of the Indian Rights Association of B.C., and have also heard the glad news that the Ottawa government will help us to obtain our rights. As we are in the same position in regard to our lands, etc., and labour under the same disadvantages as the other tribes of B.C., we resolved to join with them in their movement for our mutual rights. With this object, several of our chiefs attended the Indian meeting at Lytton on Feb. 13th, 1910, and again the meeting at Kamloops on the 24th Feb. last. Thereafter we held a meeting ourselves at Lillooet on the 24th Feb. last, when the chiefs of all the Lillooet bands resolved as follows:
First - That we join the other interior tribes affiliated with the Indian Rights Association of the Coast.In conclusion, we wish to protest against the recent seizing of certain of our lands at "The Short Portage," by white settlers on authority of the B.C. government. These lands have been continually occupied by us from time out of mind, and have been cultivated by us unmolested for over thirty years. We also wish to protest against the building of railway depots and sidings on any of our reservations, as we hear is projected. We agree that a copy of this Declaration be sent each to the Hon. Mr. Oliver, the superintendent of Indian Affairs, the Secretary of the Indian Rights Association, Mr. Clark, K.C., and Mr. McDonald, Inspector of Indian Agencies.
Second - That we stand with them in the demand for their rights, and the settlement of the Indian land question.
Third - That we agree unanimously with them in all the eight articles of their Declaration, as made at Spences Bridge, July, 1910.
JAMES NRAITESKEL, Chief Lillooet Band
JAMES STAGER, Chief Pemberton Band
PETER CHALAL, Chief Mission Band
JAMES JAMES, Chief Seaton Lake Band
JOHN KOIUSTGHEN, Chief Pasulko Band
DAVID EKSIEPALUS, Chief No. 2 Lillooet Band
CHARLES NEKAULA, Chief Nkempts Band
JAMES SMITH, Chief Tenas Lake Band
HARRY NKASUSA, Chief Samakwa Band
PAUL KOlTELAMUGH, Chief Skookum Chuck Band
AUGUST AKSTONKAIL, Chief Port Douglas Band
JEAN BABTISTE, Chief No. 1 Cayuse Creek Band
DAVID SKWINSTWAUGH, Chief Bridge River Band
THOMAS BULL, Chief Slahoos Band
THOMAS JACK, Chief Anderson Lake Band
CHIEF FRANSOIS THOMAS ADOLPH, for La Fountain Indians
Spences Bridge, B.C. May 10th, 1911
1) Address and abide by the rule of law.
2) Stop the destruction of burial sites & make reparation.
3) Support the Lil'Wats' right to self-determine.
4) Make reparation for the theft of the resources, our economy and food chains.
5) Stop expropriation of traditional lands by the B.C. government.
6) Address damages and make reparation for the theft and trespass destruction byway of roads, hydro, railways and tree-farm licenses.
7) Stop the placement and storage of P.C.B. chemicals by the natural salmon spawning grounds, water, and the Birkenhead River. Remove IMMEDIATELY!
8) Stop the violation of our air space!
9) Stop chemical, air, water and earth pollution by the spraying of herbicides and pesticides.
10. Honour and abide by the traditional hunting and fishing rights, our way of life!
* The Lil' Wat people are suppressed and oppressed by foreign governments; laws; language; education; religion; citizenship; and way of life.
* The onus is on Canadians, including churches, educators, governments and judicial systems; to uphold, obey and address "the rule of law", of Natural laws - Constitutional laws - International laws.
* These are laws that were put in place for all of our protection and which have never been repealed.
* Canadian people must bear the brunt and burden, by way of reparation restoration, and redress for these crimes.
=> Whether purchased or given in good faith, give back some of the riches and resources such as church lands, reaped and raped from Lil' Wat lands to the families that they came from, THEIR RIGHTFUL OWNERS.
=> Stop the continued colonialism.
=> Aid the LIL' Wat families during our time of healing. This is our "decolonization process" - regaining our traditional interdependent family-based government and economic self-sufficiency.
1975 - The Department of Fisheries seizes fishing nets from Lil' Wat elders at Lillooet Lake. Fifty-three are arrested. It's later acknowledged that they were wrongfully arrested. The government promises to negotiate a solution but doesn't keep the promise.
1979 - The Lil' Wat people stop Canadian Forest Products from logging on reserve land.
1986 - The Lil' Wats declare that, "The Creator placed us here on our land with the right to self-determination. The right to self-determination and the right to exist as a people is sacred in our way, and we believe we have that right."
July - Nov 1990 - Lil' Wats at Mt. Currie, B.C. have been blockading the Duffy Lake Road to stop the clearcut logging of their lands. Lil' Wats are arrested and charged with contempt of court for failing to obey an injunction, obtained by the government of British Columbia, prohibiting the blockade.
Feb 1991 - We set up a blockade on the Ure Creek Road, a logging road being constructed at the edge of Lillooet Lake. The road work threatens sacred burial land and petroglyphs. Seven Lil' Wats are arrested and charged. We also made submissions to the United Nations regarding the "frauds and abuses" of the British Columbia government on the Lillooet Lake Road (Duffy Lake Road) issue.
While asserting our sovereignty and trying to protect our land, we were arrested and taken to court. We are attempting to put additional constitutional law before the court, law which was not advanced in the Gitksan-Wet' suwet' en land claim. Because it was not, the Chief Justice was able to erroneously conclude that Indians in British Columbia are not sovereign. This presentation of additional constitutional law will affirm that we Lil' Wats are a sovereign people, as are most aboriginal peoples in the province.
(1) The Royal Proclamation (1763) of King George III which,
(a) expressly prohibits Crown governments (i.e. the federal and provincial governments) from giving to third parties (such as timber companies) any rights to Indian territory unless the lands have been sold or ceded by Indians, and(2) Five constitutionally binding court precedents which establish that the colony of British Columbia did not have the legal power to extinguish aboriginal rights. (Gitksan-Wet' suwet'en case: these precedents were not put before the court.)
(b) expressly prohibits trespassing on Indian land and states that - attempts to get around the Proclamation's legislative intent are illegal "Frauds and Abuses." The Royal Proclamation has never been repealed. Lil' Wat territory has never been sold or ceded. (Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en case: the constitutional legislation which establishes that the Proclamation applies to British Columbia (i.e. that B.C. is Indian territory") was not put before the court.)
(3) The British North America Act (1867), the Act of the British parliament which created Canada and which states in section 129 that the Canadian government continues to be bound by the (Imperial (i.e. British) legislation. This includes the Royal Proclamation. (Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en case: this was not drawn to the court's attention.)
(4) The Imperial (British) legislation which changed British Columbia from a colony to a province consistently describes British Columbia as Indian territory.
(5) The Constitution Act (1982) of Canada, which recognizes the Royal Proclamation and, in section 35.1, confirms "existing aboriginal rights."
On the basis of the above constitutional and related law, Indians are sovereign peoples with sovereign land.
The threatened burial site is on a strip of land between the edge of the lake and the foot of Boulder Mountain one of the towering mountains which encircle the Pemberton Valley. It's across the lake from the fish camps which line the beach below the Duffy Lake Road and is accessible only by water.
The many victims of the smallpox epidemic in the late 19th century were buried here. It's believed tens of thousands died. The burial ground mountain and the entire valley are sacred to us. We call the whole area
The Lil' Wat Meaning of "Sacred"To us Lil' Wats the entire area is A7XA7, our word for "sacred spiritual intelligence." The spirits of our ancestors are there. The site is so sacred that most Lil' Wats are forbidden to go to the area. Elders don't tell all they know, since to talk about A7XA7 might disturb the spirits.
Only Scwenaxem (medicine people) were strong enough to withstand 2 the danger of going there. They trained in Mklwal'ts, fasting and living in isolation for up to eight years. They became A7XA7. They controlled their spirit. They knew their spirit. They were known to even touch their spirit. The Scwenxem, too, are buried in the area of the sacred graves.
International Forest Products Ltd. is presently building a road into the area of the burial site. They have already blasted some of the many petroglyphs painted on the rock by our ancestors. The company plans to clearcut the last remaining old-growth forest in this area. For this reason we must talk about Mkwal'ts and its desecration. Harold Pascal, traditional Watchman of the grave sites, planted a white cross in the area being destroyed. The cross represented the sacredness of the exact place where a person is buried. The R.C.M.P. twice removed the cross.
Oral history tells us that any transgression might disturb and release the ancestral spirits and their power. Some of our elders believe the spirits will take vengeance on those who commit this sacrilege and those who allow it. Mkwal'ts is respected by the Lil' Wat People and should by respected by all people. No one, except our traditional Watchman, may go to its most sacred sites. This law has been passed down to us for generations. It is our duty to raise our children with this respect and awareness.
16th century - English and French settlers begin to arrive. We share our land with them.
Mid-17th century - The British and the Haudenosaunee (the Iroquois League of Six Nations) establish a relationship, depicted by the GUS-WEN-TAH, the two row wampum belt. Two separate rows of purple beads represent the separate paths of the European and Indian Nations, the three white beads dividing them stand for our values of peace, friendship and respect. However, more and more Indian land is taken or sold without consent.
1763 - King George 111 of England acts to curb the land "Frauds and Abuses." He issues The Royal Proclamation which explicitly protects Indian sovereignty and establishes the Crown's obligation to protect Indian Nations and tribes.
after 1763 - More than 80 treaties are concluded between the British Crown and Indian Nations and tribes. Fourteen of these, the Douglas Treaties, are on southeast Vancouver Island. Many more settlers arrive. The Yukon and almost all British Columbia officially remain unceded Indian territory.
1867 - The British Parliament passes The British North America Act creating the Dominion of Canada Section 129 of the Act confirms that the Canadian government is bound by Imperial (British) legislation, including the Royal Proclamation which protects sovereign Indian land (see "1763" above).
1871 The Colony of British Columbia joins Canada by means of the Terms of Union agreement, which recognizes imperial policy, including the Royal Proclamation which protects aboriginal sovereignty. Europeans are allowed to settle on Indian land in contravention of this law.
1876 - Canada passes The Indian Act, taking over Indian government and education. "Reserves" are established for particular "bands" of Indians to live within.
1884 - The church and government agents working under the Indian Act begin a campaign to eradicate the Potlatch ceremony which is at the centre of Indian spiritual life and Indian government. Indians are told they will go to hell if they pray to spirits and animals. Some Indians continue the potlatches and are jailed.
1927 - The Indian Act is amended, making it illegal for Indians to practise potlatch, longhouse and other ceremonies and to discuss or raise funds for land claims. Some Indians continue to hold traditional ceremonies and to organize around land issues.
1952 - The 1927 bans are repealed. Indians organize locally, across Canada and Internationally. We develop strong, capable leaders, the most notable being George Manuel who in 1975 founds the World Council of Indigenous People at the United Nations.
1982 - Canada and Britain sign The Constitutional Act which repatriates the Canadian constitution. Indians have lobbied across the country. Our Constitutional Express has travelled to England and Europe. Largely because of these efforts, section 23(a) of the constitution recognizes the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and section 35(1) confirms "existing aboriginal rights."
June 1990 - Native MLA Elijah Harper refuses to vote "yes" in a series of procedural votes in the Manitoba legislature. He effectively quashes The Meech Lake Amendment which would recognize Quebec as a "distinct society," give the province certain constitutional powers, and could eventually override the constitutional rights of Indians.
August 1990 - The Canadian government sends tanks and troops into Mohawk territory at Kanesatake, Quebec, to forcibly end a land dispute involving sacred burial ground.
Nov. 1990 to Present - The Lil' Wat people are the only Indians who are asserting our sovereignty by denying the jurisdictions of the Canadian and British Columbian governments and courts.
March 1991 - B.C. Chief Justice Allan McEachern hands down the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en decision, dismissing their land claim and denying the existence of aboriginal rights in British Columbia.
Sept. 13, 1991 - The Hague. Filed application in "World Court" including documents `Justice not patronage' and `Fork in the Road.' Application rejected by the REGISTRAR.
Oct. 9, 1992 - Filed application for Leave to Appeal re. "Juvenile Appeal". Dismissed because "not in best interest of Public"?
Nov. 25,1992 - Duffy Lake Appeal Dismissed Because of Chief Justice McEachern "refusing" to give appointment.
Dec. 14, 1992 - Filed Appeal for (Ure Creek) Boulder Creek. Also Reynold Joe appeal for mischief re: Duffy Lake Road.
Oct 19,1992 - Filed application in United Nations Security Council: re: Genocide, Constitution violation. Vol. (1) Synopsis of the Failure of Customary International Remedies. Vol. (2) Synopsis of the Customary Domestic Remedies. Vol. (3) Appendices. Consisting in Court Transcripts.
Nov. 1992 - Re: Ure Creek Court (Feb. 1991) Returned to Court for Obstruction of justice" charges against five people.
Mar. 24,1993 - "Mr. Justice Bouck ruled that Dr. Bruce Clark may not appear as counsel..." continuing to stall the appeal until the Delgamuukw appeal is expected to be concluded in May. Pre appeal conference delayed two weeks to April 7th.
April 7th, 1993 - Appeal date set as June 21st (after Delgamuukw appeal decision is expected to be rendered). This will allow the crown to attempt to use the anticipated denial of the Delgamuukw appeal as a precedent against the sovereignty argument - a fundamentally different legal argument. Dr. Bruce Clark successfully represented sovereign appellants at this pre-appeal conference before Mr. Justice Wong.
June 21st, 1993 - ?
=> Lil' Wats legal Arguments - Re: Jurisdiction and the "Rule of Law" has not been heard.
=> Lil' Wat peoples are in the process of "Decolonization" and healing of 500 years of destruction and opposition.
=> Lil' Wat peoples are also the evidence and victims and witnesses to genocide of our nation.
=> Lil' Wats and Dr. Bruce Clark - Wealops - (Lil' Wat name for Mountain Sheep) - stand side by side in our Quest for Justice and the "Rule of Law."
The Lil'Wat People are committed to asserting our sovereignty and to stopping the destruction of Mother Earth. We are a peaceful people. We are taking only peaceful means to carry out our obligation to the Creator to protect our land. More than half the Lil'Wat adults and youth support our actions. (Like many Indian communities, we are divided by the politics of the Indian Act.) We see no other avenue but to make it known that we are not going to sit back any longer. We must raise our children to know this resistance is real.
Sixty-three of our people were subsequently arrested, charged and imprisoned pending trial when they refused to recognize or obey the injunction. The roadblock was dismantled. The charges have been dropped against three people. The remaining sixty Lil'Wats were taken to court, where the judge refused to hear their sovereignty defense. This refusal will be appealed.
In February, 1991, we setup another blockade on the Ure Creek logging road which is being constructed on the far side of Lillooet Lake. This area contains the sacred burial grounds of our ancestors and many pictographs. Our Scwenaxem (medicine people) trained here.
International Forest Products Ltd. got an injunction against this second blockade and eleven of our people were subsequently arrested on the site. The charges against four were dropped. The remaining seven have been given one-month sentences, suspended if they keep the peace for one year.
The court also refused to hear the sovereignty argument and its refusal will be appealed. Three other Lil'Wats charged with related offences have been grouped with this case.
1911 - The Stl'atl'imx Chiefs issue a formal declaration stating, "We claim that we are the rightful owners of our tribal territory, and everything pertaining thereto We are aware that the B.C. government claims our country..; But We Deny Their Right To It. We Never Gave it Nor Sold it To Them."
1927 - Chief William Pascal and others travel to Ottawa to protest encroachment on their lands to a parliamentary committee.
1973 - The Lil' Wat Tribe reaffirms the 1911 Declaration.
We have informed the B.C. judicial system that it is in violation to its own law. We have been before over twenty judges in the land that is known as Canada, to have the rule of law addressed. We have been to the World Court to inform the world further that Canada is in violation of the international "law". We have been to many organisations, churches and support groups for financial aid to keep the litigation process moving In the direction that will help people understand the "law". The challenge of the Canadian jurisdiction is recorded in the United Nations Security Council and cannot be overruled when the "law" applies.
WE ACCEPT DONATIONS FOR OUR QUEST FOR JUSTICE AND TO HELP US DECOLONIZE AND SELF DETERMINE.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
(contact information in the 1991 pamphlet may not be accurate)
Carpenter, Contractor, Lil' Wat Spokesperson
Telephone: (604) 894-6035
Fax: (604) 894-6640
Vancouver organiser and fund-raiser for the Lil' Wat People. Accountant and former staff member of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.
Telephone: (604) 879-6218
Grandmother, mother, wife - for Survival of Nation.
Telephone: (604) 894-6640
Fax: (604) 894-6640
Traditional Watchman of graves. Mechanic, served on the Mount Currie School Board and Band Council. Father of six children, foster parent of twelve & Grandfather.
Fax: (604) 894-6640
Bruce Clark, LL.B., M.A., Ph.D.
Legal counsel for the Lil' Wat Sovereigntists. Specialist in constitutional law relating sovereignty. Author of Native Liberty, Crown Sovereignty: The existing Aboriginal Right of Self-government in Canada (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1990 and of Indian Title in Canada (Toronto: Carwell Legal Publishers, 1987.)