Letter from Sutikalh
By Arthur Manuel, writing for the Vancouver Media Co-Op.
(May 2, 2010) A steady stream of visitors stopped at Sutikalh to help celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Sutikalh being established to stop Nancy Greene and Al Raine from building a ski resort in the Lil’wat territory. It is clear that Hubie, who is the main person responsible for standing up amongst ourselves to stop the ski resort from being developed, gives life and meaning to our sovereignty. It is a tough life to be this committed to protect our land. The drums echoed this determination in the valley. We need more Indigenous Peoples getting out in their territory to give meaning to our right to self-determination.
Sutikalh is built not on an Indian Reserve but in the territory of the St’at’imc. It clearly bumps into the provincial government and big business plans and has been successful over the last 10 years. It is clear from experience that once major development gets started it is hard to stop it. Sun Peaks Ski Resort is an example of what happens once it gets developed you have a hard time to limit and control it. Indigenous Peoples need to learn from Suitkalh that you need to take action before these plans get built.
Sutikalh deserves a salute from all Indigenous Peoples who believe in our sovereignty as Indigenous Peoples. Sutikalh needs to be recognized as the first step of having our Aboriginal Title recognized. Indigenous Peoples in BC have established the constitutional and legal framework to achieve self-determination. What Indigenous Peoples need is the faith and courage to stand up and take action to have our right to self-determination recognized on the ground. Indigenous Peoples need to build more and more Sutikalh type opposition to defend our land.
I would also like to thank the European support groups that sent a special message to the Sutikalh. Nicole Schabus read the note of support to the people attended. Sutikalh is an internationally supported and recognized Indigenous Human Rights action.
I really enjoyed this event after spending over two weeks in New York City at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples. It was appropriate too because at NYC at the PFII we talked about Article 3 of the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples which is recognition of our right to self-determination. It is good to see these higher standards being implemented and enforced on the ground. Happy anniversary and thank you for your leadership. Hubie and on the ground supporters, thank you.