1865 col visit lillooet (2)Lillooet, 1865. Chiefs meet with representatives of Great Britain.1916 chiefs]Some of the Chiefs in this picture, 1916, signed the Declaration of the Lillooet Tribe. 

Seated (from left to right): Chief James Raitasket (Lillooet tribe, Upper Lillooet) Chief John Chelahitsa (Douglas Lake, tribe, Okanagan, Spences Bridge),Chief Paul David (Tobacco Plains tribe, Upper Kutenai, [Koosville]), Chief Basil David, (Bonaparte tribe, Shuswap). Standing (from left to right):Chief Elie Larue (Kamloops tribe, Shuswap), Chief John Tetlenitsa (Thompson), James Alexander Teit (Spences Bridge), Chief Thomas Adolph (LaFontaine tribe, Upper Lillooet), Chief William Pascal (Pemberton tribe, Lower Lillooet)

 We the underwritten Chiefs of the Lillooet tribe (being all the Chiefs of said tribe) declare as follows: –

We speak the truth, and we speak for our whole tribe, numbering about 1400 people at the present time.

 We claim that we are the rightful owners of our tribal territory, and everything pertaining thereto. 

 We have always lived in our country; at no time have we ever deserted it, or left it to others. 

 We have retained it from the invasion of other tribes at the cost of our blood. 

 Our ancestors were in possession of our country centuries before the whites ever came. 

 It is the same as yesterday when the latter came, and like the day before when the first fur trader came. 

 We are aware the B.C. government claims our country, like all other Indian territories in B.C.; but we deny their right to it. 

 We never gave it nor sold it to them. 

 They certainly never got the title to the country from us, neither by agreement nor conquest, and none other than us could have any right to give them title. 

 In early days we considered the white chiefs like a superior race that never lied nor stole, and always acted wisely, and honourably.  We expected they would lay claim to what belonged to themselves only. 

 In these considerations we have been mistaken and gradually have learned how cunning, cruel, untruthful, and thieving some of them can be. 

 We have felt keenly the stealing of our lands by the B.C. government, but we could never learn how to get redress. 

 We felt helpless and dejected; but lately we begin to hope. 

 We think that perhaps after all we may get redress from the greater white chiefs away in the King’s country, or in Ottawa.  It seemed to us all white chiefs and governments were against us, but now we commence to think we may get a measure of justice.

 We have been informed of the stand taken by the Thompson River, Shuswap, and Okanagan tribes, as per their declaration of July 16th, 1910.

 We have learned of the Indian Rights Association of B.C., and have also heard the glad news that the Ottawa government will help us to obtain our rights. 

 As we are in the same position in regard to our lands, etc., and labor under the same disadvantages as the other tribes of B.C., we resolved to join them in their movement for our mutual rights. 

 With this object, several of our chiefs attended the Indian meeting at Lytton on Feb. 13th, 1910, and again the meeting at Kamloops on the 6th of Feb. last.

 Thereafter we held a meeting ourselves at Lillooet on the 24th of Feb. last, when the chiefs of all Lillooet bands resolved as follows:

  First – That we join the other interior tribes affiliated with the Indian Rights Association of the Coast.

  Second – That we stand with them in the demand for their rights, and the settlement of the Indian land question.

  Third – That we agree unanimously with them in all the eight articles of their Declaration, as made at Spences Bridge, July, 1910.

  In conclusion, we wish to protest against the recent seizing of certain of our lands at “The Short Portage,” by white settlers on authority of the B.C. government. 

 These lands have been continually occupied by us from the time out of mind, and have been cultivated by us unmolested for over thirty years. 

 We also wish to protest against the building of railway depots and sidings on any of our reservations, as we hear is projected. 

We agree that a copy of this Declaration be sent each to the Hon. Mr. Oliver, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, the Secretary of the Indian Rights Association, Mr. Clark, K.C., and Mr. McDonald, Inspector of Indian Agencies.

  (Signed)        James Nraiteskel, Chief Lillooet Band

                        James Stager, Chief Pemberton Band

                        Peter Chalal, Chief Mission Band

                        James James, Chief Seaton Lake Band

                        John Koiustghen, Chief Pasulko Band

                        David Eksiepalus, Chief No. 2 Lillooet Band

                        Charles Nekaula, Chief Nkempts Band

                        James Smith, Chief Tenas Lake Band

                        Harry Nkasusa, Chief Samakwa Band

                        Paul Koitelamugh, Chief Skookum Chuck Band

                        August Akstonkail, Chief Port Douglas Band

                        Jean Babtiste, Chief No. 1 Cayuse Creek Band

                        David Skwinstwaugh, Chief Bridge River Band

                        Thomas Bull, Chief Slahoos Band

                        Thomas Jack, Chief Anderson Lake Band

                        Chief Fransois

                        Thomas Adolph, for La Fountain Indians

                                    Spences Bridge, B.C. May 10th, 1911