February 15th, 2016 (Williams Lake, British Columbia) The Northern Shuswap Tribal Council and its affiliated NStQ Treaty Group held an Agreement-in-Principle (AiP) referendum last Thursday (February 11th). The four First Nation communities which make up the NStQ are: Canim Lake Indian Band (Tsq’escen’), Soda Creek Indian Band (Xat’sūll), Williams Lake Indian Band (T’exelc), and Canoe Creek / Dog Creek Indian Band (Stswecem’c/Xgat’tem). Community members from each of these bands voted on the following ballot question: “Do you support the recommendation of the NStQ Leadership Council to proceed to Final Agreement Negotiations?”
This is NOT a vote on the NStQ Treaty itself, a process which the NStQ has been involved in since 1994. This referendum determines whether the NStQ membership wish to continue into the final negotiations stage (Stage Five) of the six-stage made-in-BC Treaty Process. If membership votes “yes” to moving forward into Stage Five, that process can take anywhere from 3 – 5 years to complete. Then, once a ‘final agreement’ is negotiated, NStQ membership will conduct a final vote whether to accept the negotiated treaty, before its ‘Implementation’ (Stage Six) can begin. If NStQ membership votes “no” to moving forward, NStQ leadership will step back and take time to analyse the results and the process itself before determining the next course of action for the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (NStQ) and its goal of achieving a future of self-determination.
”Unofficial Results” of the February 11th referendum are as follows:
Canim Lake Band (458 eligible voters): YES 125 NO 84
Soda Creek Band (336 eligible voters): YES 90 NO 48
Canoe Creek/Dog Creek Band (582 eligible voters): YES 113 NO 72
Williams Lake Band (385 eligible voters): Vote suspended at the polling station due to the disruptive illegal actions of a small group of protestors predominantly comprised of non-WLIB community members. Band Council has convened over the weekend to analyse this event and have now determined that a full re-vote, for all Williams Lake Indian Band members on and off reserve (including mail-in ballots), will take place on April 28th, 2016
These referendum results are ‘unofficial’ and are currently being verified by the Referendum Officer. Once final counts are confirmed, leadership from each of the four NStQ member communities will be distributing individual media releases with statements specific to the voting results and next steps in their respective communities.
Media Inquiries regarding “Referendum Results”, please contact:
o Marg Casey
(NStQ Referendum Officer) P: 250-392-7361 ext: 208
Media Inquiries regarding the “NStQ Treaty Process”, please contact:
o Donna Dixon
(Chairperson - Northern Shuswap Tribal Council Board of Directors) P: 250-267-7464