April 8, 2007

Squamish Nation

(Main article on wikipedia: Squamish Nation)

The Squamish Nation is an Indian Act government originally imposed on the Sḵwxwú7mesh by the Federal Government of Canada in the late 19th century. The Sḵwxwú7mesh are Indigenous, located in what is now considered British Columbia, Canada. Their band government comprises 16 elected councillors, serving four year terms, with an elected band manager. Their main reserves are near the town of Squamish, British Columbia and around the mouths of the Capilano River, Mosquito Creek , and Seymour Creek in the Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver, British Columbia.


The term 'Squamish Nation', is an amalgam of different villages, which became reserves under the Indian Act the Canadian government imposed on the Sḵwxwú7mesh. The history of this terminology dates back to the late 1800s when missionaries and Canadian government officials created a puppet government under the Indian Act within the Sḵwxwú7mesh, with the goal of blocking access to resources and cultural geography. The eventual goal of this was the assimilation of the Sḵwxwú7mesh into the settlers' colonial socio-political structures and lifestyle. Through their assimilation policies, they created a system of organizations through selected "Chiefs". These "Chiefs" were selected based on compliance, religious-affiliation, and sobriety. After passing of the Indian Act, these became the Indian Act government. At the time, the Squamish were categorized and placed into numerous small reserves, established by the settler government. Each reserve was originally in the ownership of different Sḵwxwú7mesh families. As land was being acquired, partitioned and allocated by the Federal Government without sufficient consent or consultation with the Sḵwxwú7mesh, the different villages formed into the Squamish Nation.[1]

In July 20th, 1923 an amalgamation of the 16 signatures were apparently signed by 16 chiefs. This amalgamation become the Squamish Nation, and each chief was a seat at the council table. After decades, the hereditary system for the band council changed into an elected council. Currently, the Squamish Nation has 16 seats in its elections that occur on a four year term. Sixteen Councilors for the 16 signatures on the amalgamation.

Currently, the Squamish Nation engages in agreements with the Provincial Government of British Columbia, and Lil'wat First Nation, to do with the 2010 Olympic Games. Numerous agreements were signed prior to and following the announcement of the host city for the Games. Issues such as leased land, nation owned and operated business and other ventures currently account for much of the band council government business. The Squamish Nation recently announced the purchase of the Tree Farm License 49, which covers the Elaho Valley near Squamish, British Columbia. This is one of the rare instances of an Indigenous nation buying stolen land, as no agreement was ever signed between the Crown and the Sḵwxwú7mesh during colonization of the Lower Mainland.

The Squamish Nation has close ties with the Burrard Band or Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, who reside further east on Burrard Inlet, and have family connections to the Musqueam who reside on the southern edge of the city of Vancouver. Through the Four Host First Nation, the band council has ties with these other Indian Act governments.

This is for readers to know more about the Squamish Nation. I am not a "Squamish Nation member", in the same way I am not "Canadian". I am Sḵwxwú7mesh.

by Rivers on Sunday, April 08, 2007 |


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