Tsilhqot’in Nation Chiefs are in New York leading a delegation at this year’s United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse said their intended purpose is to deliver their title case.
“Because of our title case we are the only indigenous group anywhere in Canada, in North America, or anywhere in the world that has won aboriginal title so our situation is very unique and Indigenous peoples all throughout the world are always striving to improve their situation, circumstances, and relationships they have with their government,” he said.
“So a lot of groups want to get out and meet with us so we’re here. We’ve never been through this process and it’s really about trying to put ourselves out there and do what we can to bring awareness to our issues as Chilcotin people, and to be there to hopefully inspire other Indigenous groups throughout the world that are striving to get their lands and rights recognized such as we have done.”
The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was established in July 2000 with the mandate to deal with indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health, and human rights.
The first meeting was held in May 2002 with yearly sessions thereafter.
Alphonse said this is the first time the Tsilhqot’in Chiefs have taken part in a forum at the United Nations level.
“We have definitely a lot that we could be talking about,” he said.
“The title case for sure, our relationship and our lack of relationship that we’ve had with Taseko Mines. There’s a lot that we can definitely share and there’s a lot of contacts that we can also make with people that have had dealings like that similar to what we’ve done.”
The Tsilhqot’in Chiefs will be accompanied by Tsilhqot’in National Government Executive Lead of negotiations and external affairs Jay Nelson and his team.
(Editor’s Note: Listen to Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse in the audio file below)