The Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government (XGFN) are disheartened by a deplorable act which has left a recent Gateway sign within the Declared Aboriginal title area vandalized.
In a press release, the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government says they were notified of the vandalism of the recently erected sign approximately 25km West of Tsilhqox Biny (Chilko Lake) by a local resident on February 8th.
“We are not sure why this was done or who would want to destroy such a welcoming feature on the land,” stated Chief Roger William, Chief of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and Vice Chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government. “Informational signs have been vandalized in the past, but never to this extent. We will need to take time to assess the damage and figure out next steps.”
Over five years have been spent planning and raising funds for the Gateway project. The Gateway acts as a welcoming marker for all entering the Declared Aboriginal title area. Beside the road, visitors can find signs outlining maps, information about the area and reference to further information.
“There will be many changes as the Tsilhqot’in Nation transitions the Aboriginal title lands to our full ownership, management and control. We need to work with everyone in the area to understand and respect these changes”, further stated William.
“It’s discouraging to see actions taken against such a positive step forward as welcoming visitors to our title lands. Overall, we need to work to educate all levels of government and stakeholders about the declaration of Aboriginal title and current negotiations with the Province of B.C.”