“The Stó:lō Xwexwílmexw are continuing the work of our ancestors to solve issues around how our land came to be taken from us. Although there are many paths to reconciliation, we believe that a nation-to-nation, government-to-government agreement, or treaty, is the clearest way to enshrine our rights.”
Xwelíqweltel, Grand Chief Steven Point, SXTA Legal Advisor
S’ólh Lets’emó:t is the name for our treaty. S’ólh means “ours” and Lets’emó:t means “one thought.” Working from our Treaty Principles, SXTA Leadership and staff have come together to draft a treaty document that we will present to the governments of BC and Canada.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is being incorporated into the treaty, as well as the non-extinguishment of Aboriginal rights and title. In addition, we will ensure that our treaty will be adaptable, renewable and changeable over time. S’ólh Lets’emó:t is not a full and final settlement, as other treaties have been in the past.
This new approach uses the visual idea of the rock and the tree as a guiding principle. Xélxeylamós is the transformation rock and is the fixed or core part of S’ólh Lets’emó:t. This section will encompass our principles and key commitments. Xpá:yelhp is the red cedar tree that grows from the rock and is the living part of the treaty. This will grow and evolve as our relationship with Canada and BC changes in a new government-to-government relationship.
S’ólh Lets’emó:t: Our One Thought Visual Depiction
SXTA leadership wanted to represent the treaty in a visual way and Jared Deck of Ch’iyaqtel used their ideas to create this design. Key symbols include:
- Sq’émél (Paddle) = Self Reliance. The paddle holds a salmon and helps to move us forward together. The seven waves in the paddle also represent our Tómiyeqw — seven generations forward and seven generations back.
- Sélseltel (Spindle Whorl) = Culture and Heritage. The longhouse and the smoke represent the passing on of knowledge and tradition, the spindle whorl in the middle represents the way we absorb culture.
- Sí:tel (Basket) = Everything that belongs to us. The basket holds our knowledge. This symbolizes education, our land, our future generations and our work to look after everything.
- Swōqw’elh (Blanket) = Governance. The wolf wears the blanket and steers the canoe forward, but looks back to remember the past. The wolf shares resources with the two bears who symbolize Xexals (culture, teachings, tradition, stories). The eagle at the front also shows the leadership, power and knowledge of our elders and ancestors.