Tŝilhqot’in Nation Releases Heritage Strategy

Williams Lake, B.C.: Today, the Tŝilhqot’in National Government (TNG) released a broad heritage strategy that outlines its goals and priorities to advance cultural protection, education, research and issues of jurisdiction. This strategic plan takes a holistic approach to heritage that recognizes the interconnectedness of physical spaces and objects with spiritual and mental well being.

TNG is calling on the Government of British Columbia to overhaul the current Heritage Conservation Act (HCA), to create a more responsive and inclusive legislation, and to honour its agreements with TNG to negotiate innovative arrangements grounded in recognition of Tŝilhqot’in rights, Title and jurisdiction. The HCA has failed to be effective in addressing the needs of the Tŝilhqot’in. Heritage and cultural protection must prevent destruction and desecration of both the physical and cultural aspects of Tŝilhqot’in history.
The HCA has not been successful in this basic need. The release of the Strategic Plan for the Management of Tŝilhqot’in Cultural Heritage is a first step in showing how conservation should be accomplished.

“Why is it that our history has been put in the hands of a government that does not carry
the same value system as us? Something that Indigenous people may view as an ancient
grave site is, at the same time, viewed as a place for resource extraction. Our land holds our
oral history and is like our library system. Destroying our lands would be like destroying
the library system in the mainstream. It is important that we preserve our lands for the
current and future generations as it holds our history, culture, language and ways of being
and knowing. The way that we understand the land must act as a guide for the management
of that area. The Heritage Conservation Act has never worked for us. It has no teeth and
needs to be overhauled. We must protect sites, repatriate artifacts, and commemorate our

— Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair, Tŝilhqot’in National Government

“Our elders will often go to special sites and tell stories about that area. These stories go back to the beginning of time for us as a people. We gather our strength from our history. It’s high time that a heritage strategy is made by us. It is up to us to ensure physical and spiritual connections to our past are maintained. Healing and the well being of our people is directly connected to these protections.” -3

— Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Otis Guichon, Vice-Chair, Tŝilhqot’in National Government

Jacey Warne
Communications Manager
Tŝilhqot’in National Government
(403) 998-7581