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Secwepemc Nation letter to Governor General Payette to stop TMX

by Henry Sauls Saw~sess SecwepemcMiranda Dick Secwepemc

Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline under construction. Photo:
Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline under construction. Photo:

The letter sent from the hereditary governance structure of the Secwepemc Nation to the Governor General of Canada yesterday is republished here:

Dec 1st, 2020

Dear Governor General Julie Payette,

We, the Secwepemc, write to you as a representative of the Queen and of the Nation to Nation relationship between our Territories that has been affirmed by law and precedent pre-dating the formation of the Canadian state. Under the terms of the 1763 Royal Proclamation, we, the Secwepemc, hold title over our unceded and unsurrendered territories. We assert this title and exclusive jurisdiction through land usage, occupation, ceremony and governance practices.

The federally owned TMX Pipeline has no consent to construct on our territories and no consent to drill under our salmon bearing river and streams that nourish our Nation and People. We write to inform you and your office of this conflict of interest occurring on our territory as we feel that you are uninformed and so, unable to appropriately make decisions or govern. Currently, the TMX Pipeline is attempting to re-drill under the Thompson river without appropriate authorization and in violation of our legal agreements with the Crown.

We, the title holders of our territories, have been ignored, subject to violence and have been forced to defend our territories from the illegal encroachment and jurisdiction claimed by the province of British Columbia and the federal government of Canada. Between October 15th and 18th, 9 Nation members and allies were violently arrested by the RCMP attempting to address our concerns and while in ceremony on our own territories.

Our Nation is faced with an ongoing housing crisis as a direct result and impact of the advancement of neo-colonial extractive industry projects such as TMX Pipeline. We are alarmed by the forced displacement of our People and the dispossession of our territories despite possessing full title, sovereignty and jurisdiction since time immemorial and we ask the Governor General to step in to put a stop these constitutional violations and address this issue in the appropriate political setting.

The question of land and deed in Secwepemc Territories is still left unanswered. In a town hall meeting with Justin Trudeau on January 10, 2019, we asked again, if the Canadian government can prove deed or title to our territory and he replied Canada had no deed. We have attempted to address these outstanding issues for over 150 years and the actions or lack thereof of the Prime Minister and the Governor General’s office are in direct contravention of the moral and legal obligations of these offices.

We, the Secwepemc, are rightful stewards of our Territories and always have been. As the Governor General, you have a responsibility to address our concerns and as the Secwepemc, we have a responsibility to act on them that we have fulfilled and will continue to fulfill forever and ever. Secwepemculecw, wel me7e yews, wel me7e yews.

Miranda Dick Secwepemc  [signed]

Henry Sauls Saw~sess Secwepemc  [signed]

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