Tsawout First Nation

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Treaty Office Report

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-  Eric Pelkey, Treaty Officer

The PKOLS action to bring back the true W̱SÁNEĆ name to our Sacred Mountain was very successful. We had between 600 and 700 supporters on the PKOLS that day.  We did a reenactment of the signing of our Douglas Treaty the way our Elders have told us it actually happened in 1852. There were supporters from as far away as the Anishnabee and Cherokee Nations. People were grateful to hear the meaning, history and creation story of PKOLS. I have submitted an application to the Geological survey of Canada to have Mt Douglas legally changed to PKOLS on all maps of Canada.

Our next target of action to restore our W̱SÁNEĆ names in our Territory will be ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱   , our Sacred Mountain. This is tentatively set for mid-October. Our organizational meetings for this action are in the early stages, but we are ramping it up because Central Saanich has recently passed a motion to allow development on ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ .

We have filed an “application to intervene” on the CHILCOTEN Territorial Land Claims case because we see that the judgment against them would be detrimental to our Douglas Treaty Rights if upheld by the courts.

We have also sent a letter of objection to Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations about the action they have filed in BC Supreme Court for Cadboro Bay. The W̱SÁNEĆ People have aboriginal rights in Cadboro Bay as we had a village of our people there at the time of the signing of our Douglas Treaty in 1852.  We also objected to the statements in their claim giving up all Aboriginal and Douglas Treaty Rights in that area. We hold the position that, “leadership cannot make a decision of settlement for its members' Douglas Treaty or Aboriginal Rights, and they belong to the individual descendants and are hereditary rights”.

We have sent letters of objection to all levels of government regarding the creation of the Gulf Islands National Park on our territorial lands without proper consultation and against our vehement objections. I feel myself and Chief and Council have done everything short of physical assault on Parks Canada Representatives. No matter what we say and how much we object they still move ahead and take more and more of our lands into their Parks Jurisdiction. They also do not honor or even recognize our Douglas Treaty Rights in the Gulf Islands National Park.

They are now moving forward on the creation of the Southern Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation area. This will take in all the waters in and around the Gulf Islands. Chief and Council signed a BCR opposing this move by Parks Canada. We have heard through the grapevine that they will be calling a special meeting with all First Nations to announce their intentions on August 14th at Mary Winspear. We will table the position of the Tsawout First Nation at that meeting.

Donations toward the Longhouse have waned, but we are having logs and lumber donated toward the start. We are having 20 foot corner posts donated and will be putting them into place in early October. The surveyor is going to mark out the sight in August and will plan on preparation of site for the corner posts as well as the equipment needed.

We will publicize the raising of the posts, which we hope will spur donations of materials and supplies from supporters and local businesses. Woody Underwood is temporarily on staff to aid on the project.  

Digital Storytelling Project with Royal Roads University
We will be starting this project up in the fall with youth who are not already in a standard school system. We are looking for youth that are interested in learning about iPhoto and iMovie and special audio dubbing and mixing to create movies that tell the stories and legends of the W̱SÁNEĆ people.  Royal Roads University instructors will teach. More info will come out as planning unfolds.

Time Off
I will be taking time off to be with my family during the month of August but will be kept in touch by the office for urgent matters.