A ceremony was held at the Sumas First Nation longhouse on Friday to sign the Semá:th Declaration. (Kelvin Gawley/Abbotsford News)

Sumas First Nation signs declaration in Abbotsford

Semá:th Declaration asserts title over ancestral land

The Sumas First Nation unveiled a bold declaration asserting title rights over its ancestral territory at a ceremony on Friday.

The nation’s chief and band councillors signed the Semá:th Declaration at their Sumas Mountain Road longhouse following song, dance and speeches.

The declaration affirms the nation’s rights to all land, mountains, minerals, trees, lakes, rivers, streams and resources extending through its traditional lands beyond its small reserve at the foot of Sumas Mountain.

“The declaration is more or less a statement to put out to people who we really are,” Chief Dalton Silver said.

It lays out some key priorities the nation has for its relationship with both the governments and people of Canada and B.C.:

– That the Sumas people have inalienable rights to their territory, self-determination and their governance principles underpinned by culture, tradition and spirituality.

– These rights have always and will always exist and were never ceded to B.C., U.S. or Canadian governments

– The Sumas will do everything in their power to press for these rights in both law and practice

“One of the things that we’re really, really trying to achieve is recognition as the first people’s of the land,” Silver said. “It’s not just a spiritual statement it’s really physically and literally connected to the land and our surroundings and we can understand thousands of years of habitation in an area.”


@KelvinGawley
kelvin.gawley@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cupcake Family Picnic officially launches at Honda Way in Abbotsford

Signed Vancouver Canuck Brock Boeser #6 jersey will hang in showroom until being auctioned off in March 2020

Students at old Abbotsford school trained for the war

Philip Sheffield High School had firing range in basement

Abbotsford’s Remembrance Days in 1939 and 1945 through historical archives

Abbotsford News reporting shows the anxieties of people living through conflict

Remembrance Day service at Thunderbird Memorial Square

Event in Abbotsford on Monday, Nov. 11 hosted by Royal Canadian Legion

VIDEOS: First-ever PPW champion crowned in Abbotsford

Highlights and results from Saturday’s Championship Tournament event

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Coquihalla drivers urged to be careful amid freezing rain alert

Special weather statement in effect for highways between Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

14 SeaBus cancellations, free rides for veterans from TransLink on Remembrance Day

Free rides also available for current Armed Forces members, first responders

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Most Read