Our Sovereignty

Our Sovereignty is our Traditional Ways.

It is our fishing, hunting, ceremonies, laws, stories, songs,
potlatches, and dances.

Our Sovereignty is a sacred gift handed down to us
by Tatau, the Creator.

It is something that was never given to us by any
government or business.

Our Sovereignty is not the Canadian government's laws.

Our Sovereignty is not the British Columbian laws.

These two governments do not have any right to practise their
man–made laws over our laws that were handed down to us
from the Creator.

Our Sovereignty is when we hunt, where we hunt,
when we fish and where we fish.

Our Sovereignty is our plant foods and medicines.

Our Sovereignty is our traditional Way of Life.

No other nation is given the permission to define our Sovereignty.

As long as we keep our Sovereignty we shall survive as a nation.

For the future of our Children, Grandchildren and

Children yet unborn . . .


"The Nuxalk have the right to sovereignty, a traditional way of life and a traditional government. Nuxalk sovereignty has never been relinquished through war or treaty. According to international and Canadian laws, to which Canadians are bound, Nuxalk jurisdiction remains. International law supports the Nuxalk sovereign stance through the Royal Proclamationof 1763, which states that no unceded Indian lands in North America should be surveyed or granted to settlers." Nuxalk Nation Band Council

Human and Indigenous Rights

Left: Independent Indigenous Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, 2005. The indigenous peoples presenting this submission build on a historic movement calling for the recognition of indigenous sovereignty and the inherent rights of indigenous peoples. We deeply respect the strong positions of our ancestors and historic leaders and stand strong behind their principles: that we will not give up our inherent rights in our traditional territories and as indigenous peoples we have the right to self determination.

We maintain these values to preserve the rights and interest of our children, grand children and future generations. We also teach our children about the obligations they have towards our traditional territories. Collectively we share in the traditional knowledge that is connected in our traditional territories and the obligation to protect them that comes along with it. We take direction from our elders and aspire to rebuild traditional decision making and governance structures. Our aim is to ensure culturally, environmentally and culturally sustainable development in our traditional territories.

Nuxalk House of Smayusta: The traditional territories of the Nuxalk Nation are situated along the Central Coast of Britsh Columbia, they cover many fjords, each the responsibility of a traditional family, that in turn is headed by a traditional chief. They are all connected by their deep belief in the sovereignty and traditional ownership of the Nuxalk Nation. These chiefs have important obligations towards their people and in turn towards their territories which they have to protect. The threats to their lands and waters are many from logging, to mining and fish farming. House of Smayusta of the Nuxalk Nation has struggled against Interfor, fish farming and mining.

In the case of Nuxalk opposition to logging in the Valley of Ista, in the Great Bear Rainforest, six band councillors opposed the forestry operations and five endorsed them, but the federal Department of IndianAffairs and Northern Development (DIAND) backed the minority decision endorsing the logging plans. DIAND and the minority band council even laid charges against Nuxalks exercising their Aboriginal Title and Rights. Often DIAND policy and practices exacerbate, or even promote, divisions between Indigenous people prioritizing short-term program monies and those seeking to protect long-term Aboriginal Title interests. This was a deliberate attempt to undermine traditional indigenous leadership and with it the inherent rights that these families hold.

Still the traditional chiefs and the people went and stopped road construction for over one month. There were 22 arrests and all were charged with criminal contempt because they tried to protect one of their last remaining valleys. The logging went on while some of the chiefs were in jail and while the trials went ahead and stringent conditions were imposed on the Nuxalk. Still they returned the following year, again to stop the logging and this times the resulting trials went on for three years.

Today the House of Smayusta opposes fish farming because it destroys marine ecosystems and has a devastating effect on their indigenous salmon stocks and their other traditional staple food the ooligans. They also oppose mining and any other activities that destroy their environments and violate Nuxalk sovereignty.


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