Tsilhqot’in endorse Horgan’s NDP

Tsilhqot'in cite NDP's enshrining of UNDRIP as important step in reconciliation

Tsilhqot'in. National Government Chief Joe Alphonse, right, Roger William, left. | Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist

The Tsilhqot’in First Nation, which battled the B.C. government in court for years to win rights and title to traditional territory, are throwing their support behind John Horgan’s NDP in the provincial election.

The Tsilhqot’in National Government has announced its formal endorsement of the NDP in the October 24 election. The First Nation notes the Horgan government’s endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as an important step towards reconciliation.

“The NDP government followed through on its commitment to pass legislation to implement UNDRIP in British Columbia,” Tsilhqot’in National Government Chief Joe Alphonse said in a news release. “They made significant commitments to our people in the Gwets’en Nilt’i Pathway Agreement.

“We have not always seen eye-to-eye. And we will continue to advocate for our people without compromise. But the hard work of implementing UNDRIP, fully recognizing Indigenous rights and title, and truly respecting Indigenous peoples of this land is only beginning.

“We endorse the NDP and Premier Horgan to continue the work that they have started.”

In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Tsilhqot’in had proved that they never ceded traditional territory to the colonial government, and even went to war to defend it, which established “exclusive” and continuous occupation – an important part of proving aboriginal title.

The court recognized Tsilhqot’in title to a small portion of the claimed territory, and aboriginal rights to the greater claimed territory.

That decision required the provincial and federal governments to implement a transition of governance to the Tsilhqot’in, via the Gwets’en Nilt’i Pathway Agreement on Tsilhqot’in title lands.