Tŝilhqot’in Delegation to visit Europe: Stops include visit to Sami, United Kingdom and the Hague

Williams Lake, BC: The Tŝilhqot’in Nation has sent a small delegation; including Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, Tŝilhqot’in National Government Tribal Chair, to Sweden and other parts of Northern Europe to bring awareness to Indigenous rights and reconciliation in Canada.

While in Europe, and following the celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Tŝilhqot’in delegation met with His Excellency, Canada’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, the Honourable Ralph Goodale in London.

The delegation will also attend a meeting at Shell’s Corporate headquarters in the Hague to continue discussions on the reforestation work in Tŝilhqot’in traditional territory and to work towards a carbon neutral future. Later the same day, Chief Joe will present at the Hague University of Applied Sciences, in a seminar on the intersection of human rights and Indigenous rights.

Finally, the delegation will be hosted by Sweden’s Indigenous peoples, known as the Sami Peoples for a cultural exchange and discussion on mining. Discussion are part of a project with the University of Northern British Columbia, the University of Saskatchewan and Luleå University of Technology. The Tŝilhqot’in delegates are honoured to have this opportunity to learn from the Sami about their governance, laws, language and culture, and to share the Tŝilhqot’in experiences, culture, and teachings with them.

“We are honoured to be hosted by the Sami Peoples on their homeland. We are looking
forward to learning the ways of the Sami and sharing some of our Tŝilhqot’in experiences;
particularly on governance and how our Nation fought to protect the sacred waters of Teẑtan Biny (Fish Lake). The Sami, like the Tŝilhqot’in, have concerns about mining and climate change and the impacts to the lands, resources and wildlife. We also intend to get down to business while we are there. We will meet with representatives of Shell at their corporate headquarters and present at the Hague University of Applied Sciences in Sweden. This is also our opportunity to raise awareness with Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK about the Tŝilhqot’in title case and our ongoing efforts to forge a new relationship with the Crown.”

— Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, O.B.C, Tŝilhqot’in National Government

“This trip has been a long time in the making; it is something that we had planned for prepandemic. Our Tŝilhqot’in delegates had established a relationship abroad with members of the Sami during our visit to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. That’s what these trips are about – unifying and building relationships with Indigenous Peoples around the world to advocate for our human rights and make real change. While I will not be part of the delegation on this trip, I know Chief Alphonse will be a strong advocate for our Nation and I look forward to the learnings and lived experience that the delegates will bring back from the Sami Peoples for the betterment of our Tŝilhqot’in communities and Nation.”

— Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Francis Laceese, Tl’esqox First Nation

Jacey Warne
Communications Manager
Tŝilhqot’in National Government