A historic vote was held yesterday (June 29) for eligible Williams Lake First Nation voting members.
It was done to ratify an agreement in principle with the Federal Government in regards to the settlement of a long-standing specific claim.
It arose from the displacement of the ancestors of current WLFN members in the late 1800s from large tracts of land within what is now the City of Williams Lake.
“1900 acres of land was wrongfully taken from the Williams Lake First Nation historically,” Chief Willie Sellars said, “So what we did yesterday was to ratify that agreement, and with that agreement comes a settlement of $135 million. The future of our community, generations from now are going to be taken care of because of the vote.”
Sellars noted that they had a good turnout for it.
“We had 55% of those eligible voters, registered members of WLFN and we had 95% of those who voted in favor. It was a resounding yes, we would have liked to see a higher vote of course but historically it was a great turnout that we had come to the polls.”
Sellars said it was a 30-year court battle that went to the Supreme Court of Canada, our people have been fighting for over 100 years and now we’ve completed the final step.
“Now once we’ve ratified like we did yesterday, we’re going to see those dollars that are going to transition into a community trust after a small per cap that’s going to be professionally managed moving forward into the future. What do we want to build first, what do we want to do first, is going to be the question in community engagement around those things and I’m fired up.”