The chief and council of the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) announced today that groundwork will begin on a land use planning exercise focused on the area west of the Fraser River, commonly known as “Farwell Canyon.” This planning exercise will be multi-dimensional, incorporating insights and data from a wide variety of sources, including archaeological research and studies, environmental data, wildlife-related studies, and engagement with other First Nations, governments, and industry.
WLFN Kukpi7 (Head) Willie Sellars stated:
“I am very excited to begin this exercise. The area known by the settler name of ‘Farwell Canyon’ is a fundamental part of Northern Secwépemc Territory. We have a rich and well-established historical connection to these lands, and our uses continue to today. Unfortunately, there is not enough awareness of Secwépemc rights and values in the Farwell Canyon area, and our management priorities have not always been recognized by government and industry. The Cariboo Regional Land Use Plan -Chilcotin was established in 1994 (long before many significant Aboriginal rights and title developments), and by the province’s own admission, the CCLUP is a very outdated and insufficient planning tool.We believe there is a pressing need to fill some gaps in current management tools, and clearly assert ourselves as a critical decision maker regarding the use and development of these Farwell Canyon lands.”
In 2018, WLFN and three other Northern Secwépemc (NStQ) communities signed a government-to-government agreement known as the Yecweminul’ecw Land and Resource Use Agreement, which recognizes the use of land and resources in traditional Northern territory. Secwepemc. The agreement was written to reflect the Province’s commitment to true and lasting reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and to serve as a means through which the Province can advance its commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
“This Farwell Canyon land use planning exercise is a very logical extension of our government-to-government agreement with the province and we are excited about creating a product that will provide meaningful guidance to government, industry and other users.” from the earth”. added Kukpi7 Sellars. “Being clear and transparent about priorities and values increases opportunities for collaboration and cooperation, minimizes the potential for conflict, and celebrates the history of indigenous peoples in this region.”
Work on this WLFN Farwell Canyon planning exercise will begin in late June. More information on community and industry engagement will be released in the coming months.
Map of the area proposed for the WLFN land use planning exercise: