Filling Up the Land with Pilalt: Countering the British Columbia Referrals Process and Reclaiming Stolo Ways of Being on Land




Tomkins, Erin

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George Manuel, renowned Secwepemc leader, once said, “I would rather hand over to my children the dignity of the struggle than to sign a deal they cannot live with.” This quotation can be found posted all around the Cheam council office where I spent many hours working. Over the months I spent a lot of time thinking about this statement and came to see it as a perfect articulation of the issue that defines contemporary Indigenous struggles against colonialism. Within his simple statement Manuel asks, what does it mean to “live”? More specifically, he asks an Indigenous audience, what does it mean to live as an Indigenous person? The question in my mind that flows from this is one for all of us, both Indigenous and non-indigenous: what kind of life are you fighting for?



Cheam, leader, council, colonialism, indigenous, First Nation, community, elder, identity, colonization, aboriginal, rights, settler, crown, Treaty Commission, territories