The BRLN has kindly offered the St’at’imc space for a monthly article to tell our story and provide the community of Lillooet and area with information that affects all of us. It is a time of exciting change and possibilities for the St’at’imc, and we view this monthly article as an opportunity to engage individuals and groups in the work we are doing.
First, let’s provide some information about the St’at’imc. We are the original inhabitants of the territory which extends north to Churn Creek and South French Bar area; east toward Hat Creek Valley; east to the Big Slide; south to the island on Harrison Lake and west to the headwaters of Lillooet River, Ryan River and Black Tusk. Because the St'át'imc culture and way of life is inseparably connected to the land, this monthly article will often discuss land and natural resources issues, and our inheritance.
As the St’at’imc, we are comprised of 11 communities throughout our Territory. These 11 communities configure themselves in a number of different ways. First, at the local level each community is an autonomous group that has always been charged with managing its own affairs – natural resource management, health, education, economic development, etc. As well, our communities have always chosen to work together on collective issues when it makes sense to do so. For example, over the past 40 years, we have created the Lillooet Tribal Council in the north and the Lower Stl’atl’imx Tribal Council in the south, to provide services on a collective basis to their respective membership.
And historically, the St’at’imc have always worked together as a nation - to pursue nation-level issues such as security, trade, inter-governmental relations, and issues that impact the general welfare of the nation. This monthly article will cover issues that pertain to all three of these levels - community, collective and nation.
Of course, recently, we have concluded our nation-level negotiations with BC Hydro concerning its historical impact to our lives and land. The implementation of this historic agreement will also provide much information to share via this monthly article. For example, there are several projects on which we are collaborating with BC Hydro to ensure the impacts of BC Hydro infrastructure in our territory are carefully and jointly managed. This includes the development of a Water Use Plan for the territory, fisheries projects to reclaim steams and waterways that were previously damaged, and enhanced mapping and surveying of our cultural heritage resources.
At all levels, we are busy developing enhanced services (education, health, early child development, Stl'atl'imx Tribal Police Service). To achieve our goals we have created three branches of the St’at’imc Government and each of these branches will contribute to future articles:
1. St’at’imc Government Services – to provide services such as natural resource management, land use planning and cultural heritage management at the nation level across the territory.
2. St’at’imc Holding Company – to provide umbrella economic development services to the various St’at’imc companies and communities.
3. The Office of the St’at’imc Chiefs Council – to provide secretariat services to the St’at’imc Chiefs Council.
In terms of economic development, we have been busy building joint ventures with various industrial and commercial partners. Both Xwisten and Tsal’alh are in a long-term partnership with Sequoia Energy out of Alberta to develop the Jamie Creek run-of-river power project. Similarly, Lil’wat and Port Douglas have long-term run-of-river partnerships with Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. out of Quebec. As well, we have recently created a joint venture with CooperMoon Communications to provide communications services throughout St’at’imc territory and British Columbia. We will use this monthly article to provide updates as they evolve.
And finally, the St’at’imc have numerous annual and special events throughout the year. For example, in our upcoming May, 2012 article we will provide a backgrounder on the annual St’at’imc Gathering that celebrates the signing of the 1911 Declaration of the Lillooet Tribe. Also, we will use this article to report on the annual International Indigenous Leadership Gathering (that attracted 3,000 visitors last year), the Unity Ride, the annual Pow Wow and other important cultural and social events.
So we look forward to working with the BRLN to enhance our profile in the community and enhance awareness and understanding of our government, our communities, and our lives as St’at’imc people.