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About the Court Case


Community Forums

The key objectives of the following processes are to raise public awareness with respect to environmental and sustainable tourism issues and create community building through cooperation and participation.

Building Community Awareness – May 16, 2008
An open invitation was sent out to the Cariboo Chilcotin region inviting the public to attend a public information session in Williams Lake on Friday, May 16, 2008 at the City of Williams Lake’s Council Chambers. The purpose for the meeting was to provide information to 3rd party interests held within the Court Case Decision area from the November 21, 2007 “William Case” – the Xeni Gwet’in Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal Title Case. Leadership from Xeni Gwet’in First Nations and their legal council were there to provide an update and ensure those interests had an opportunity to hear directly from Xeni Gwet’in First Nation. There was a large turnout with people from Alexis Creek, Canoe Creek, Soda Creek, Williams Lake, Chilko, Tsuniah, Taseko, Likley, Tatlayoko, Lone Butte, Bluff Lake, Yohetta, and Quesnel in attendance. Organizations represented included: Taseko Mines, Carrier Chilcotin Tribal Council, Williams Lake Tribune, Ministry of Forests and Range, Cariboo Regional District, Canoe Creek Band, Ministry of Agriculture & Lands, Fraser Basin Council, Ministry of Environment, BC Wildlife Federation, Region 5, Lone Butte Fish & Wildlife and Integrated Land Management Bureau.

Honourable Supreme Court Justice David Vickers was the Xeni Gwet’in/Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal Title Case Trial Justice from 2002 to 2007. In November 2007, after 15 years before the courts, Justice Vickers found that Tsilhqot’in Chief Roger William had proven Aboriginal Title to a vast part of the area. In this landmark decision Judge Vickers suggested that Xeni Gwet’in/Tsilhqot’in Nation and the governments of British Columbia and Canada should negotiate a settlement in the interests of post-colonial reconciliation.

At the time of this meeting no negotiations have been undertaken despite efforts by Xeni Gwet’in to negotiate with the Crowns.

Updated Note: November 20, 2009

Condolences were offered to the family of the Honourable Supreme Court Justice David Vickers who died Saturday, November 14, 2009. Judge Vickers was remembered by former Xeni Gwet’in Chief Roger William as “a remarkable judge, who was very sincere and showed immense respect to our people”. Jack Woodward, the lawyer who represented the Xeni Gwet’in/Tsilhqot’in Nation remarked on Justice Vickers “landmark decision in 2007” as “a breathtaking victory two years ago, and it remains a huge win for Aboriginal Rights and Title in British Columbia”. Today that decision is still under appeal and despite many years of Xeni Gwet’in/Tsilhqot’in Nation efforts there are no ongoing negotiations with either governments of British Columbia and Canada.

Quality Waters Management Planning
Community Forums 2008/2009

Forums were held in November and December 2008 and January, February, September, October, November and December 2009 to address community concerns regarding Quality Waters Management. Government representatives were invited from regional organizations, guest speakers provided more detail on specific topics and other community structures were reviewed.
The following Mission and Vision were developed from the series of forums held in 2008/2009:
Quality Waters Mission:
· Advocates for the health and welfare of the wild species of the Chilko watershed (within the XG Caretaker Area)
· Advocates for the pristine and wildness of the Chilko watershed
· Provide guidance regarding sustainable human use and carrying capacity in the Chilko watershed
· Create awareness among the public at large of the Chilko watershed community’s values
· Liaison between community and the provincial and federal governments as to how Xeni Gwet’in and local residents and businesses would like the watershed to be managed and protected.
· Ensure protecting the Chilko watershed is everyone’s responsibility.

Draft Mission Statement:
To be a catalyst to achieve and maintain a pristine and self-sustaining Chilko watershed (within the Xein Gwet’in Caretaker Area), through education about watershed carrying capacity and human use, communication of community values to public and private decision makers, and coordinated management of resources, and cooperative action.

Quality Waters Vision

  • Retain the wildness or pristineness of the watershed (within the XG Caretaker Area).
  • It remains self-sustaining natural environment. This means allowing the land enough freedom from human use to sustain itself. This does not mean non-use but rather limiting non-renewal resource extraction and motorized access.
  • Make the area an example of how to live in harmony with or within the carrying capacity of the land
  • Clean water and air, abundant fish and wildlife
  • A place where people have a close relationship to the land (nature as life blood of the community or mother’s milk),
  • Respecting the rights of all living things on the land to thrive
  • Freedom to enjoy and use the land with respect.
  • A land that sustains its people and wildlife for many generation to come

Draft Vision Statement:
The Chilko Watershed within the Xeni Gwet’in Caretaker Area is a self-sustaining, wild environment and will remain a source of clean water, clean air and abundant fish and wildlife forever, providing an example of how people use and live respectfully with the land.

Fisheries Assessment and Enhancement Planning – Ongoing since 2006
Working with technical consultants Xeni Gwet’in community members have been in training throughout the Chilko Watershed. They have been involved with conducting water sampling, fish habitat assessments and habitat restoration and enhancement activities throughout the Chilko Watershed including Nemiah and Konnie Lake, Choelquoit Lake, Chilko Lake, Beece Creek, Fish Lake and Taseko Lake since 2006.

These projects support the community’s goals to establish maps and baseline inventory of waters in the Chilko Watershed:

Identify health, sustainability and restoration
  • Identify current regulations and issues pertaining to water quality/angling
  • Provided reports on waters regarding fish habitat quality and fish populations
  • Provided reports on issues/concerns regarding angling such as overharvesting and overcrowding
  • List of recommendations developed for Habitat Enhancement and Restoration
  • Inventory of current water licenses, mining leases, commercial guides, fish and wildlife resources

Branding the Xeni Gwet’in Caretaker Area 2008
Community meetings were held between Chilko Resorts and Community Association in 2008 with Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government to develop an identity for the Xeni Gwet’in Caretaker Area. The recommended brand identity is found below.


The Legend of Ts’yl-os is captured in the mountain peaks:
Many years ago, before the arrival of settlers, a man and his wife lived in the mountains near Konni Lake. 'Eniyud, after not getting along with Ts'yl-os, flung her newborn into Ts'yl-os's lap, and took three of her six children, and left, headed to the Tatlayoko Valley.

With Eniyud gone, Ts'yl-os and the three children turned into rock, the infant still nestled in his father's lap. 'Eniyud traveled with her children to the other side of the valley and also turned to rock. Their figures can be viewed from Xeni Lake.

A sense of water and rivers is captured
The three waves capture the waters in the region and give a sense of motion and freedom through reference to a feather like quality. The lower wave is specifically shaped as a feather to represent Xeni’s strength and determination while the two waves above represent the two major rivers – the Chilko and the Taseko.

An image of a wild horse is captured
The imagery of the horse refers to the unique wild horse population in the area and also gives a sense of freedom in an untamed land.

The long history and traditions of the Xeni are captured
The bold use of ‘XENI’ in the brand identity conveys strength and stability – a sense of permanence and long history on the land.

Choice of colours – blues/greens
The choice of blue and green reflects the importance of the nature, the strong link to the land. The blue is rich and deep; the green clean and spring-like – combined they offer strong traditional values and new, fresh experiences for visitors.

Community Airports
Three locations have been identified within the Xeni Gwet’in Caretaker area to develop community airports. An agreement is under construction between the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government and Chilko Resorts and Community Association to manage the operation and maintenance of the Airports within the Xeni Gwet’in Caretaker area. As a part of the process a special Community Airport Committee will be struck to assist the process.

One of the key objectives of the Chilko Resorts and Community Association is to “create better resource management and influencing area development, planning and regulations”. During 2002-2003 Xeni Gwet’in studied their cultural tourism opportunities within the Caretaker area as a focus for community economic development. The development of three community airports within the Caretaker area would be a measure to support new cultural tourism business enterprises and supports existing businesses.

The establishment of community airports in the area that measure up to new federal standards will provide the infrastructure for stability and certainty for businesses new and existing. It would further support new “joint venture” possibilities as the Caretaker area is vast and will ensure the ability of the community to take advantage of emerging tourism ideas, packaging and easing the transportation barriers that exist within a remote community.

Better organization in the community and better use of infrastructure could mean extending the tourism season in the area, support cultural tourism development and facilitate more overall sustainable tourism development.

Additionally community safety could be addressed in view of the major fires within the Caretaker area since 2006, where the community airports could also mitigate the risk of moving large group of people out of the area in case of an emergency.