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In-SHUCK-ch still overlaps with Lil’wat territory



The In-SHUCK-ch Nation may have averted one overlap crisis, but it has another thing coming from the north.

The Nation, which recently received a final proposal for land and capital from the Governments of Canada and B.C. as part of treaty negotiations, is being offered sovereignty over a territory that stretches from the north end of Harrison Lake up to the south end of Lillooet Lake - and on to two reserves belonging to the Mount Currie Band of the Lil'wat Nation.

The reserves, listed as Challetkohum 5 and Challetkohum 9 by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, are considered sacred areas to the Lil'wat because each is a location for burial grounds.

The In-SHUCK-ch map claims them as part of the Nation's prospective territory and if treaty goes through it will essentially cede both areas to their authority.

"I guess it's sort of one of those situations where the overlapping area, we just have to deal with it with them," Mount Currie Chief Leonard Andrew said in an interview. "It's sort of a strange situation that happened a century ago... you are placed in areas where our community members have settled and so forth.

"When they went around and mapped out reserve lands, this is what happened there, it happened to be one of our reserves is down in that area so you can't really bypass it. We've got to deal with it and we will."

The reserves are located at the northern end of what the In-SHUCK-ch Nation is claiming as part of its territory.

Challetkohum 5 is one mile north of what's known as the Baptiste Smith parcel, a recently reconstructed community that serves as a residence for the Samahquam Nation. Challetkohum 9, meanwhile, is located on the west bank of the Lillooet River but east of Challetkohum 5.

Together the reserves represent only 2.6 hectares of Lil'wat traditional territory but the graveyards make the land sacred to the people. Andrew said the Mount Currie Band is working on a protocol with the In-SHUCK-ch Nation that would allow them to continue to access the reserves but it hasn't yet been hashed out with both parties.

"In reality we get along with them, we work together with them and we always have lived side by side," Andrew said. "We're working on a protocol with them and I'm not sure why it's taking so long to agree on a protocol because the fact is that protocols are basically (a way) to work together.

"We're trying to deal with it in a very legal manner."

In-SHUCK-ch negotiator Gerard Peters confirmed that the In-SHUCK-ch map still extends on to Mount Currie reserves and he said it's been difficult to arrange meetings with the Mount Currie Band because it's been busy with preparations for the 2010 Olympics.

"The Lil'wat, I have to say, they've been focused on the 2010 Olympics and it's been quite a challenge in getting negotiating sessions or discussions with the Lil'wat," he said.

"However I have to say this, I have done so, gosh, a good half dozen times in the last year or so and in those discussions I believe that we have the makings of a clear understanding about what their rights are and how they'll be protected in the context of our treaty."