Desecration of Our Burial Grounds

Charlie Klakamot, Chief of Bella Coola. Died Feb. 5, 1889.
Charlie Klakamot, His Son. Died July 1889. Aged 8 Years.

Bella Coola Motel Built On Sacred Burial Grounds
in the Ancient Nuxalk Village of Sts'kiilh

24 March 1995

The Nuxalk Nation Government Hereditary Chiefs, the Nuxalk Nation Government Council of Elders and the Nuxalk Nation Government Band Council do hereby declare that there will be no more desecration of our sacred burial grounds within Nuxalk Traditional Territory.

This act of cultural genocide is in direct violation of our Nuxalk traditional laws and customs. It has caused much heartache and sadness to the spirits of all Nuxalkmc. Recently, it has come to the attention of all Nuxalkmc, that our sacred burial grounds located at the Bella Coola Motel have been disturbed by the new motel management. The motel manager/owners have moved the gravestone of Hereditary Chief Klakamuulh from its original position and they have erected fence posts in the sacred burial grounds of our ancestors.

The Nuxalk Nation Archaeological Branch has also confirmed that bone fragments were brought to the surface by an auger used for erecting fence posts. The Bella Coola Motel was built in 1958 (British Columbia's 100th Birthday) in the Nuxalk sacred burial grounds located at the Sts'kiilh village site. At no time was consideration ever given to the Nuxalk Nation during the development and construction of the motel.

The gravestone of Chief Klakamuulh [Klakamot] is evidence that the Bella Coola Motel is located on one of our sacred burial sites. The gravestone of Chief Klakamuulh sits next to the motel about ten feet away. Many of our elders remember the gravestones and markers that once were but now the motel has done away with most of them.

A letter dated January 9, 1995, was hand delivered to the owners/managers of the Bella Coola Motel to remove the fencing and to place Chief Klakamuulh's gravestone to its proper position (two feet from the motel). Since we have had no response from the motel management, and they haven't respected our wishes, we are taking action to correct this situation. We will march from our totem poles down to the motel where the gravestones are. Our Head Hereditary Chief, Nuximlayc, will dance his song and share a few words. Hereditary Chief Silcxwliqw' will step forward share a few words and begin removing the fence.

At this point, we face the possibility of being arrested, but we are willing to suffer the consequences. If arrests are made, other members of the Nuxalk community will continue dismantling the fence until the fence is completely removed. At this time Chief Klakamuulh's headstone will be placed back into its proper position. Finally, the Nuxalk people will place flowers on top of their ancestors graves and feed a fire with food to soothe the spirits of those past on.

Today, we as Nuxalkmc are making a historical stand. We make this stand in loving memory of our ancestors whose graves have been desecrated, and we make this stand on behalf of all our brothers and sisters from other indigenous nations who face the same grief. We want the people of the world to know that we will no longer allow desecration of our sacred burial sites in Nuxalk Territory.

For the future of our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born . . .


Nuxalk Nation Government Hereditary Chiefs
Nuxalk Nation Government Council of Elders
Nuxalk Nation Government Band Council


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