Revelstoke city officials will soon begin consulting with the Sinixt people regarding amendments to the Official Community Plan.
Councillor Tim Palmer made the motion at the Oct. 26 council meeting, saying consultation done with 10 other Indigenous organizations on a proposed amendment was not enough when the Sinixt, who are recognized as the people who most prominently lived in the Revelstoke area, were not included.
“Although there are numerous Indigenous groups with connection to this land, this is also very much part of the Sinixt territory,” said Lisa Moore. “Colonisation has removed them physically but their hearts are still connected and their people still consider this as home.”
The city received several letters from the public, calling out the city’s lack of inclusion of the Sinixt in a recent consultation process.
“Truth and reconciliation require more than acknowledging the horrors of residential schools, although that is extremely important,” said Laura Stovel. “They require looking at all aspects of colonialism, including removing people from their lands, which is so much of who they are. First Nations cultures are closely tied to the lands and beings that they stewarded.”
The Sinixt were declared extinct in 1956, however, in a Supreme Court decision in April 2021 they were recognized and their right to hunt in their traditional territory, spanning from near Kettle Falls, Wash., north through the West Kootenay to the Revelstoke area, was reinstated.
Council made a motion not long afterwards for city staff to include the Sinixt in their consultation process. Marianne Wade, director of development services, said staff have been working on fixing the consultation process and creating a proper procedure, however, it isn’t an easy fix.
The latest motion calls on staff to include the Sinixt in the ongoing review of the Official Community Plan, as well as any amendments.