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Tŝilhqot’in mark 10th anniversary of title win at UN forum in New York

‘10 years on we continue to fight for Indigenous rights, at home and on the world stage’: tribal chair.

Marking the 10th year anniversary of the Tŝilhqot’in land rights victory in Canada, tribal chair Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse said it has given hope for a brighter future.

Alphonse, three other Tŝilhqot’in chiefs and six youth are in New York attending the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

“Ten years on and we continue to fight for Indigenous rights, at home and on the world stage. The youth that are here in New York are very powerful with a future that goes beyond our imagination.”

Nits’ilʔin Chief and TNG vice-chair Otis Guichon said it was a difficult decision to attend due to hardships happening in the Tŝilhqot’in communities.

“We shared directly with Canada and other International organizations the issues we are facing, including the drug crisis and climate crisis,” he said. “These are global Indigenous issues. We are here demanding respect for our rightful role at the United Nations as Indigenous Nations to directly participate in the decisions that affect us and the world.”

This year the theme of the UNPFII is “Enhancing Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination in the context of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: emphasizing the voices of Indigenous youth.”

For 25 years the Tŝilhqot’in Nation fought in Canadian courts to have Tŝilhqot’in lands, culture, and way of life recognized and respected by Canada, resulting in the first declaration of Aboriginal title in Canadian history, affirming Tŝilhqot’in ownership and control of 1,900 km2 of their ancestral lands in a precedent that stands as a landmark around the world.

Today, the Tŝilhqot’in continue to work with other level of government, including Canada, to take back jurisdiction and self-determination for the Nation.

READ MORE: Tŝilhqot’in leaders call state of local emergency after overdose deaths

READ MORE: 6 B.C. Interior First Nations Youth to attend UN forum in NYC

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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