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Confederated Traditional Okanagan-Shuswap Nations Declaration

View of Shuswap country, Shuswap Lakes circa 2003

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We, the Sovereign Traditional People of the Okanagan and the Shuswap Territories Declare at this time Our Position to be Known Before All People of the World. We Stand Together as one Under Four Hereditary Chiefs:

N' kwala
A' turn
N' hum chin
Chil Heetza I

In their declared relationships with the Royal Crown of England there are three witnesses that the relationship between our Nations and the Royal Majesty continues without diminishment:

 

  1. The Rising and Setting of the Sun;
  2. The Great Waters which continues to Flow through our land on its way to the ocean;
  3. The Flying of the Royal Flag of the Imperial Crown. It is , our understanding that these would always bear witness to the truth of our Relationship and is now Symbolized in the Royal Coat -of Arms of British Columbia granted by King Edward VII in 1906. This is our stated position as it was then and is now.

We Declare that this stated position is Protected and Insured to us through our Four Hereditary Chiefs Agreement with the Crown of England which insured Peaceful Coexistence with our subjects. The Okanagan Nation and the Shuswap Nation are Sovereign Nations. This originates from the Creator when he placed us on this Island in our Territory; We were given instructions under which our people have lived in Health from time untold . These instructions are contained in the Teaching of Coyote. It is through our Values that we live under the instruction of the Creator. Our values form the foundation of our survival.

Therefore, our first responsibility is to protect our Spirituality. Our People are a Sacred Trust, countless Generations to come will carry the Sacred Trust of our Values from one generation to the next to keep it a living thing.

Therefore, our second responsibility is to protect our Future Generation. Our Culture is a Sacred Trust, the Values carried by Generation of our People are passed through the Language. Customs and Knowledge that we practice in our daily lives.

Therefore , our third Responsibility is to protect our Culture. The Land is a Sacred Trust. Our Knowledge and Customs are Understood and Practiced in our relationship with our land and in that way it Protects and Ensures our survival and, therefore it is the Living Body of our Spirituality. It is our mother nourishing us in all ways; Physical, Spiritual, Mental, and Emotional.

Therefore, our fourth responsibility is to Protect our Land. We hold these truths to be the truths upon which we stand as one.

We have never knowingly sold our title to our land or the Rights to use or the resources on it. We never made any Agreements which give any other Nation the right to take any of these Lands and Resources into their possession.

We have never lost a war with any Nations. No Nation can claim any of our lands by conquest. We have never given consent to join any other Nation of the World.

We will never surrender our Right to carry the Instructions and Responsibilities the Creator gave to us. We will never betray our Children. We will never consent to Extinguish Our Sovereignty to any Nation.

We are Declaring Our position before All Nations of the World in Peace as our Four Hereditary Chiefs declared before the Crown of England.

We declare that the Relationship of the Crown of England to the Okanagan and Shuswap Nations was of mutual Respect and Peace with her Subjects, one that Upholds and Protects and Ensures the Sovereignty and any of the above mentioned Rights.

This is Witnessed by the Flag that Continues to Fly over Britain and is Vested in the Royal Promises made to these Four Chiefs that it would remain so as long as the Great Waters continues to Flow and as long as the Flag of Britain continues to fly.

We do not recognize a Relationship with any other Nation of the World, as long as these Witnesses stand.

We shall stand as one behind This Declaration. Only the Crown of England has the Rights to Changes in its relationships with us only through Meetings and Agreeing with the Hereditary Descendants of those four Chiefs behind whom we stand and rejuvenate the original relationship.

We will never consent to Surrender or Sell our Land. No one has the right to sell what we collectively own. We will continue to Live on and Use Lands in ALL our Territories. We will Live our Spirituality and Share it and Pass it on to ALL who Desire to live it. We will practice our Rights to hunt, fish, pick berries, dig roots, and to use the resources of our lands.

We will Practice our Ways and Teach Our Children our Ways.

We will use Our Language and Protect it. We will care for and Respect each other and Protect each other.

We will Protect our land.

We will continue to live as Sovereign People and Never Surrender under ANY circumstances.

These are Our Rights.

' Only the Creator could Take away these Rights'

We Speak As One.
/s/ Tommy Gregoire (Okanagan-Shuswap)
/s/ John Terbasket (Similkameen-Okanagan)
/s/ W.A. Arnouse (Shuswap)
/s/ William Chilheetza (Okanagan)
Ratified in Good Faith at Alkali Lake, B.C., on
8th December 1986.

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