The Tsilhqot’in Nation is striving to forge a new way forward with the province 1 year following the Supreme Court of Canada land title ruling.
Tl’etinqox Chief and TNG tJoe Alphonse and tribal chairman of the TNG (Tsilhqot’in National Government) gathered with other First Nations people and Chiefs at Farwell Canyon Wednesday afternoon to mark the anniversary of the declaration of Title.
He called it a proud day.
“We finally were able to bust that dam of denial. Now there has to be acknowledgment and it marks the promise of something better for First Nations people to be heard, to do things in a different way that’s more respectful and to be acknowledged.”
“We did this not to separate from Canada, but to be a more meaningful part of Canada.”
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation John Rustad, who also took part in the gathering says it was an honor to be there.
“To set a tone, and it certainly created some expectation, but more importantly it has been able to set a path, I think that can be really positive between the province and the Tsilhqot’in people and hopefully the Canadian government.”
“We’re in an agreement; we’d like to be able to do this together and we need to find a path.”
“We recognize there’s going to be some challenges, there’s no question, but with that, we also know that we have to go this road.”
“We can’t go back to courts, we can’t have another lost generation. We need to be able to do something in a short period of time.”
“We’re hoping over the next 3 to 5 years we can make significant progress.”
Alphonse says the provincial government has a huge impact on what happens within communities and have a major say on natural resources.
He says they need to come together for an agreement of understanding, before the TNG shifts their focus towards the federal government and adds that he, personally, tries to keep his vision of the future as simple as possible.
“For me, I’ve worked for my community and I’ve worked for my Nation my entire career.”
“The things that I’ve seen back in my early 20’s when I first started working to see where we’re at today, the struggles that we’ve had; my dream is to ensure the next generation of the Chilcotin people don’t have to have those same type of struggles.”