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"Chief Louie introduces himself and his tribe, the people of the Okanagan. This is a historic day. It marks a new beginning, it is a message to Canada, British Columbia, The Prime Minister, to the premier of this province, to the general public that we must once and for all finalize the outstanding land claims in this province. We must settle once and for all with a treaty... click for more    (ID • 1838)

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treaty negotiations nanaimo first nations aboriginal people injustice recognition traditional lands resources elders self determination education www.realworldtelevision.com kelowna cameraman gary moore photojournalism www.realworldphotographs.com www.garymoorephotography.com okanagan videographer stock video archive www.realworldimage.com conflict politics social hul qumi num signs symbols
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treaty negotiations nanaimo first nations aboriginal people injustice recognition traditional lands resources elders self determination education www.realworldtelevision.com kelowna cameraman gary moore photojournalism www.realworldphotographs.com www.garymoorephotography.com okanagan videographer stock video archive www.realworldimage.com conflict politics social hul qumi num signs symbols
"Chief Louie introduces himself and his tribe, the people of the Okanagan. This is a historic day. It marks a new beginning, it is a message to Canada, British Columbia, The Prime Minister, to the premier of this province, to the general public that we must once and for all finalize the outstanding land claims in this province. We must settle once and for all with a treaty, a fair treaty, an honorable treaty, a treaty that all our peoples can live with. We have spent since early 1990's considerable amount of time, considerable cost to our community, their has been literally hundreds of millions of dollars spent in this province to try and reach a settlement. To date we have not been able to do so with government. Why? Mandate of British Columbia and Canada are inconsistent with the wishes of the peoples of this land. The vast majority of the people's on this land cannot settle under the mandated terms of this government and that must change. How do we do that? We do that by starting today, by having a common table, a common voice where the collective strength of everyone in this room, everyone in our community, the peoples in this land who want to have fair treaties, fair settlements, that strength begins without question, today." "Over 41 nations at this moment and that strength will continue to grow, I predict before long that if we don't have unanimous support, then almost unanimous support. "We will not give up our reserve lands, we will not give up the jurisdiction of our lands. We have an inherent right to the benefits in this province, we have an inherent right that must recognized and reconciled. It must be fair to each and everyone of our peoples. There cannot be other governments on our lands that has jurisdiction that suppresses our people and that is what is being advocated. We have been at this discussion point now not only since the early 90's with the beginning of the treaty process, our ancestors raised, we have been fighting this since Europeans first came to these lands, on our lands and we have not yet fully settled the differences that exist and that must change and it will change and this table with the chief negotiators and everyone's support that differences can be made. Governments must sit back and they must listen, and if they don't? What are our alternatives? We must be very, very assertive. Every business in this province and this country must know that there are unsettled terms in this province, and those unsettled terms must be resolved. It will be the best for everyone of the citizens on these lands and that is what we must achieve, that's what will be achieved. Notice is given to The Prime Minister, the Premier, the Government, industry, to the general public that we wish to settle and we want it on fair terms and we will not except mandated positions being forced down our throats. Treaties will not happen if that is the case. We will not be oppressed and we must have recognition of our rights, our Aboriginal title and Aboriginal rights and that is what is at stake. That is the importance of today. A new beginning. It is with honor and pride that I sit here with you to voice our opinions. I am happy to see the strength and the power that is in this room. Collective wisdom and the thoughts of everyone of our peoples reflected. END. Chief Louie Westbank Chief is an Okanagan business owner/operator with several successful enterprises over the past 20 years. With his wife Bernice he shares a family of three children. Louie was Chief for the Westbank First Nation Council from 1986 through 1996 returning to office in 2002 and re-elected in 2004. After passing the bar in 1984, Louie entered the private practice of law until becoming involved in aboriginal governance. He was subsequently appointed as the Chairman of the First Nations Lands Advisory Board and was elected as a Task Group member of the First Nations Summit. His experience led to an invitation to become involved in B.C. treaty negotiations representing the Chiefs of British Columbia.
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