The Tsilhqot’in National Government is calling on the Government of British Columbia to overhaul the current Heritage Conservation Act.
They want the Government to create more responsive and inclusive legislation, and to honor its agreements with them to negotiate innovative arrangements grounded in recognition of Tsilhqot’in rights, title, and jurisdiction.
The Tsilhqot’in National Government said the Heritage Conservation Act has failed to be effective in addressing their needs and that heritage and cultural protection must prevent destruction and desecration of their history.
The release of their new strategic plan for the Management of Tsilhqot’in Cultural Heritage they say is a first step in showing how conservation should be accomplished.
It outlines TNG’s goals and priorities to advance cultural protection, education, research, and issues of jurisdiction, taking a holistic approach to heritage recognizing the connection of physical spaces and objects with spiritual and mental well-being.
In a news release, TNG Vice-Chair Otis Guichon said “We gather our strength from our history. It’s high time that a heritage strategy is made by us. It’s up to us to ensure physical and spiritual connections to our past are maintained.”
TNG Tribal Chair Chief Joe Alphonse said it’s important that they preserve their lands for current and future generations as it holds their history, culture, language, and ways of being and knowing.
“The Heritage Conservation Act has never worked for us. It has no teeth and needs to be overhauled. We must protect sites, repatriate artifacts, and commemorate our history.”