The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District is found within the traditional territories of several First Nations, including the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), St'át'imc and Líl'wat, which is a distinct Nation with linguistic, cultural, familial and political ties to the St'át'imc Nation. Each Nation is independent and self-governing. In the case of the St'át'imc, there are elevent distinct and self-governing communities (including Líl'wat) within the Nation.
Small parts of the SLRD also overlap with the traditional territories of the Stó:lō, Tsleil-Waututh, Nlaka'pamux, Tsilhqot'in, and Secwepemc Nations.
The SLRD does not provide direct services to the residents of the First Nations communities located within the region. However, the organization is committed to enhancing relations with the indigenous communities and First Nations within whose territories the SLRD operates. At the beginning of its previous term (2015 – 2018), the SLRD Board of Directors identified enhancing relationships with Aboriginal communities and First Nations as its top strategic priority.
Also in 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada released a summary of its final report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, which documented the findings of the Commission’s multi-year investigation into the history and enduring legacy of Canada’s residential school system.
The TRC report defines reconciliation as “an ongoing process of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships.” The report goes on to state that “a critical part of this process involves repairing damaged trust by making apologies, providing individual and collective reparations, and following through with concrete actions that demonstrate real societal change.”
In recent years, the SLRD has taken several steps to enhance its relationships with First Nations, including organizing several formal and informal meetings, establishing two intergovernmental relations working groups, offering related training to the SLRD Board and staff, and commemorating Orange Shirt Day.
Regional District of Reconciliation
In September 2016, the SLRD Board resolved to be a Regional District of Reconciliation, and to continue to work towards turning these words into actions (read the news release).
The Board resolution followed the presentation of a staff report regarding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
- Read the September 2016 staff report
- Read the TRC report: Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future
- Read the TRC Calls to Action
- Read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The SLRD Board also passed the following related resolutions at its September 2016 meeting:
THAT the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District endorses in principle Call to Action #43 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Summary of the Final Report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future (TRC Report) – a call for municipal governments to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation; and
THAT the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District adopt the following calls to action from the TRC Report:
- Call to Action #47 - A call for municipal governments to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous people;
- Call to Action #57 - A call for municipal governments to provide Indigenous training and education to public servants;
- Call to Action #75 - A call for municipal governments to identify and commemorate Indigenous cemeteries; and
- Call to Action #77 - A call for municipal governments and archives to share any information on residential schools to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Strengthening Intergovernmental Relations
The SLRD, in collaboration with the relevant member municipalities, has recently established two committees to further relationship building efforts:
- Northern St’át’imc Intergovernmental Relations Working Group (current representation includes: District of Lillooet, P’egp’ig’lha Council – T’it’q’et community, SLRD)
- Nuk̓w7ántwal̓ Intergovernmental Relations Committee (current representation includes: Líl’wat Nation, N’Quatqua, Samahquam, SLRD, Village of Pemberton)