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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Defenders ot Skwelkwek'welt need support

The defenders of Skwelkwek'welt are asking all Indigenous Peoples and their allies to wage a week long call-in/fax campaign to demand a new federal policy that recognizes their right to retain their lands. The Defenders are fighting an expansion of the resort at Sun Peaks. Here is the text of their request and an update.

Message from Skwelkwek'welt Protection Center

September 12, 2004
To all Indigenous Leaders and People
To All Support Groups and Friends
We are requesting urgent letters of support for our actions to
-occupy our lands at Skwelkwekwelt (what is classfied as crown land)
-protect our traditional lands from destruction
-re-establish the connection of Elders and youth to restore our
Secwepemc culture and language at our residences we are building up the
We maintain that we own our lands because we never signed treaties, sold
or surrenedered the land in any way.
We demand the right to exist on our lands and save ourselves from
extinction and extermination
Secwepemculecw Traditional Peoples Government
Box 837
Chase, B. C. V0E 1M0
email:  jrbilly@mail.ocis.net
Janice Billy   250-318-4290
Arnie Jack    250-320-7822
Art Manuel   250-319-0068

The Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier
Government of British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8W 9E1
Fax: (250) 387-0087
Email: premier@gov.bc.ca
Phone: 250-387-1715
Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection
Honourable Bill Barisoff
PO Box 9047 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC
V8W 9E2
Telephone: 250 387-1187
Fax: 250 387-1356
E-mail: WLAP.Minister@gems9.gov.bc.ca
Minister of State for Resort Development
Sandy Santori
PO Box Stn Provincial Government
Victoria, BC
V8W 9E2
tel#: 250-953-4246
fax#: 250-953-4250
Email: Sandy.Santori.MLA@leg.bc.ca

Darcy Alexander
Vice President, General Manager
Sun Peaks Resort
1280 Alpine Rd.
Sun Peaks, BC
V0E 1Z1
tel#: 250-578-7222
fax#: 250-578-7223
email: marketing@sunpeaksresort.com

Hon Andy Scott
Department of Indian and Northern Affairs
tel: 613-992-1067
fax: 613-996-995

Sample Letter

I am writing in support of the Skwelkwek’welt Protection Center that has
been protecting Secwepemc lands and culture that is being destroyed by Sun
Peaks Resort.
It is clear that despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada has
recognized Aboriginal Title, and that the Canadian Constitution of 1982
protects Aboriginal Title as an Aboriginal Right yet your political
decision has been to extinguish Aboriginal Title. The recent Haida
decision added a legal duty government and industry to consult and
accommodate Aboriginal Title even before it has been proved. It is clear
that the recent endorsement by Canada and British Columbia of the $285
million dollar expansion of Sun Peaks is a deliberate and clear effort to
extinguish Aboriginal Title.
Negotiations under the present extinguishment policy and process is
failing (those negotiations have only been a benefit to those negotiators
who get a pay check from those funds for the last 10 years); that the
injunctions are not necessarily always conducive in balancing the
interests between business and Aboriginal Rights; and that full blown
court decision takes 10 to 14 years; and all of these remedies put
Secwepemc people at a decided disadvantage when dealing with the
governments that are committed to an out dated status quo of marginalizing
indigenous economic and cultural rights.
I reiterate the position of the Skwelkwek’welt Protection Center that
wants the expansion of Sun Peaks stopped and demand a new federal policy
that recognizes Aboriginal Title in line with the legal mandate to consult
and accommodate Aboriginal Title.
Yours sincerely,


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