Chiefs from the Southern Interior met at Spences Bridge in 1910, to study the demands of the Indian Rights Association of BC. The Interior Chiefs decided to affiliate with the coast Indian Rights Association and stand with them to demand certain rights for Indian people and a settlement of the land issue. But the Chiefs also under- stood how important it was for them to carefully define, and speak for, their own concerns. They had Teit write it all down in point-by point form so it could be easily distributed. The points were made in the form of a declaration and dated the 16th day of July, 1910.

The DECLARATION OF THE INDIAN CHIEFS IN THE SOUTHERN INTERIOR OF BC

To Whom It May Concern:

We, the underwritten Chiefs of Indian Bands in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, hereby make known our position in regard to the question of Indian rights, and the policy of the Indian Rights Association of BC, as follows:

First, we stand for treaty rights with the dominion government, the same as all the Indian tribes in the other provinces of Canada, and that all matters of present importance to the people of each of our tribes be subject to these treaties, so that we shall have a definite understanding regarding lands, water, timber, game, fish, etc., and we consider such matters as schools, doctors, aid to the aged, Indian funds, etc., and general assistance by the government should also be included in these treaties.

Second, we stand for compensation to us by the British Columbia government for all lands of ours appropriated, or held by them, including all lands preempted or bought by settlers, miners, lumbermen, etc.

Third, we stand for the enlargement of our reservations wherever we consider it necessary, by having a sufficiency of land allotted to us so as to enable us to compete on better terms with whites in the way of making a living.

Fourth, we stand for the obtaining of a permanent and secure title (to be acknowledged by the government as such) of our ownership of our present reservations, and of such lands as may be added thereto.

Fifth, we stand for the carrying of our claims before the Privy Council of England for settlement, and in the event of our obtaining justice as we expect, we ask such compensation as may be awarded us for our lands, etc., shall be paid to us, half in cash, and the other half to be retained by the dominion government, and used as occasion may require for our benefit.

Sixth, we ask for and expect the dominion government to support us in our claims, and help us to obtain our rights to the best of their ability.

Seventh, we believe the Indian Rights Association of BC (which has been formed by other Indians of this country) has the same object and claims that we stand for, therefore we declare our agreement with the members of the same, and our resolve to join them, and support them in the furtherance of our mutual interests, and the attainment of our rights.

Eighth, we believe that the Indian Rights Association of BC has hired Mr. Clark, K.C., of Toronto, to look after their interests and conduct their case in harmony with their desires, and those of the dominion government, and we hereby declare our agreement with this step, and our intention to support it financially and otherwise, as well as we are able.

Advertisements