- The Okanagan Nation is a sovereign nation. This originates from the Creator when he placed us on this island in our territory. We were given instructions under which our people have lived in health for nobody knows how many generations. Those instructions are explained in the teachings of Coyote. Our rights are contained in those teachings.
- Those are still our rights. Our sovereignty is still the same. The only one who can change that is the one who made it so. That is our understanding of aboriginal title and aboriginal rights.
- No other Nation in this world can give us what we already have. Our Nationhood and our sovereignty. When European Nations first encountered North America, there was an agreement signed by the King that obliged them to respect that. That agreement does not set out our sovereignty or our rights. All it does is establish the white peoples’ rights in the territories of the various Indian nations. We already have our rights. The white people need to define what they are doing in our country and how they will act toward our people. That is the basis of treaty-making. It defines white peoples’ rights that we will allow them to have.
- When the white people came to our territory there was an effort by the Queen’s representatives to establish white people’s rights that we would allow them to have in our territory. Our people agreed to define for them their rights so there would be no war. The Shuswap and Okanagan jointly agreed to stand together on what they would agree to, as far as what white people’s rights were to be.
- The agreement they reached was that white people could live in our territory as long as they in no way interfered with our people and the way our people lived. Four Chiefs representing the Okanagan and the Shuswap declared before the English Crown that we were a sovereign people and would always remain so within all of the practices handed down to us and that we would live in peace with the Crown’s children in certain campgrounds set out and marked by four corner posts. The other land which white people did not directly live on belongs to our people in all respects of how we practice our sovereignty. If anything was to be removed from the resources then they would have to buy that from us.
- That is the declaration that we make now. We cannot change what has been put in place by our Creator under the instructions of our Great Chief Coyote. We can in no way compromise that by being included within the Constitution of Canada or any other Nation of the world. We have declared this position at the United Nations Non-governmental Organization Conference in Geneva on Aboriginal Rights in September of 1981 and have documented it fully.
We are committed to maintain that before all the other Nations of the world and will pursue to strategize with any other Indian Nation that is committed to the same position. What we need to do now is to make a re-definition of white people’s rights because they have not respected the agreements our people defined for them to live in our territory in the first place. WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE BY BEING INCLUDED IN THE CANADIAN CONSTITUTION. We have to put them back in their place at whatever cost.
Reprinted from “Ka-Nata – a vision of social revolution’ magazine, Spring, 1982; ‘Voice of KANATA Anti-Imperialist Organizing Committee.”