As Autonomous Sinixt, we are asserting sovereignty in our unceded, traditional təmxʷúlaʔxʷ (homeland) and calling a halt to all industrial and recreational developments in piq kiʔláwnaʔ. We are working to rewild the entire 400 sq/km of piq kiʔláwnaʔ which will involve a measured/gradual roll back of commercial human activities in the area over the next decade. The area is currently threatened by the proposed Zincton All-Seasons Resort, a tenure application for 45,000 ha for year-round recreation.
Piq kiʔláwnaʔ is named after and is the home of the white grizzly, sacred to our People. Smum iem Matriarch, Eva Orr, who has now joined her ancestors said,
“Since I was a child, I periodically have this dream. It is always at the full moon. A huge white grizzly walks along. My Elders said that these white grizzlies in our ancestral land around Arrow Lake Country are held sacred.”
Sinixt still honour this unusual one-in-ten variation of the Grizzly. We also continue to dig roots, hunt, gather berries and medicines, fish and conduct cultural practices in this area of high traditional use.
We uphold the value of protected wilderness for all species of plants and animals and the maintenance of the integral habitat that supports them. Ecosystem destroying incursions on piq kiʔláwnaʔ such as mining, logging and roads must cease in order to maintain the thriving habitats and spaces required by all Animal People. Mountains and intact forests, especially old growth forests, provide and purify water and play a key role in buffering climate change.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and BC’s DRIPA legislation mandates governments, businesses and the settler public to come into right relationship with the First People of BC. This includes free, prior and informed consent from us for any developments on our lands, recognition of our Traditional Ecological Knowledge, maintenance of our spiritual relationships with our lands and much more. In spite of ongoing colonial occupation of our lands, Autonomous Sinixt, through our traditional governance system Smum’iem, uphold our unceded rights and responsibilities to our ancestors and the people who currently live in our təmxʷúlaʔxʷ.
- Rejection of all pending recreational tenure applications in piq kiʔláwnaʔ.
- Gradual phase out of all ecologically damaging current tenures including but not limited to forestry, mining and recreation.
- 3. Gradual roll-back of Highway 31A between Bear Lake and Retallack, starting with seasonal closures. Highway access through the area will be maintained for emergency vehicles and essential services and be open on a controlled basis for non-essential travel.
- Cessation of all low elevation air traffic above piq kiʔláwnaʔ.
- Re-establishment of the ecological integrity of the area via restoration projects.
We invite settler allies who support this vision to join us in this vital work.