S’ólh téméxw te íkw’elò. Xólhmet te mekw’stám ít kwelát.
This is our land. We have to take care of everything that belongs to us.
We Believe in Stó:lō – together we will engage in all things related to our journey towards Self Government. The Stó:lō Signal Podcast is the audio component to the Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw Treaty Association’s independent newsletter by the same name.
What do our communities need? Who decides and how do we go about getting those programs or services? We are coming up to a vote on the Constitution which will help define our future Stó:lō Xwexwílmexw nation. Mail-in ballots have been sent out and voting officially opens online on November 4 at onefeather.ca. In person voting also opens on November 13 and 14 in Leq’á:mel, Tzeachten and at our Stó:lō Nation Governance House. So what ARE we asking you to vote on? It’s not the treaty. Not yet. Our negotiators are still working on that. But in order to ensure we are all on the same page, we do need our communities to agree upon our Constitution first. This document defines how the six villages of the Stó:lō Xwexwílmexw will work together in the future as a government.
Everyone likes a story, right? Find out what a Constitution is from Grand Chief Steven Point and how Yeqwyeqwí:ws Councillor Jazmine Horne created a way to describe the Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw Constitution not just with words, but in images too. Inspired by a comic that was created by X-syte youth team members for the Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw Treaty Association in 2012, Jazmine has teamed up with illustrator Melissa Kendzierski to refresh the story of Kw’í:ts’téleq. In Volume 2 of the series, Kw’í:ts’téleq escapes residential school and goes on a journey to learn from the ancestors about ways our communities can work together. We can’t tell you more than that. . .
What does it mean to be a sovereign nation and how does that translate into governance? In this episode we explore ideas of nationhood and how our Shxwelméxwelh/Constitution, a document that describes our ancient beliefs in a modern way, is an essential part of our path to self-government. We also hear our chiefs discuss their visits to far-flung Indigenous communities who are leading the way. Our communities will vote on the Constitution in November. We believe in Stó:lō.
In which, Wenona Hall says: “I never want to disrespect what the generations ahead of us went through. . . The types of genocide you and I are experiencing are quite benign in comparison to the genocide our ancestors experienced. And so I can understand the fear and the trauma that goes along with that. But we can’t use that as the next generation. We need to stand up!”
Host Sharon Desnomie asks: What is treaty? And Grand Chief Steven Point answers: It’s an agreement. An agreement between nations. . . We’ve never signed a treaty where we’ve given up our land. Yet Europeans have come. They’ve occupied our territories, they’ve taken our trees, they’ve taken our minerals. We’ve never been recognized for all that we’ve given up. A treaty will finally set us on the correct path as a nation. A nation with a treaty with the Canadian government.
As community members, we can have very different opinions about many things. What if our big difference involves whether we support the treaty process or not. In this episode, Theresa Warbus talks with Wenona Hall, Skowkale member and Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley, about her reasons for not supporting treaty.