The Stó:lō Nation Longhouse on the Coqualeetza grounds in Chilliwack. ‘Picture our Constitution as the posts of a longhouse that our six communities are building together,’ according to online info about the constitution and treaty process. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress file)

Draft Stó:lō constitution under discussion now in six villages in Chilliwack and beyond

Renewed approach to treaty negotiations saw Stó:lō group reach Stage 5 last fall

The Stó:lō people’s constitution will be known as Shxwelméxwelh, a document mapping out the Stó:lō way.

There’s a newly completed draft being circulated now in the six Stó:lō villages as they continue working their way toward a final treaty, spelling out the specific terms of a self-governing nation.

The draft document is under discussion, and “community champions” have been contracted by Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw Treaty Association (SXTA) to knock on doors seeking input on the draft constitution.

“Our six canoes are continuing down the river towards the final goal of a vote on the Treaty,” according to a recent update.

The “Constitution/Shxwelméxwelh” vote next fall will be the next major milestone for the six Stó:lō Villages which include:Áthelets (Aitchelitz); Leq’á:mel, Sq’ewá:lxw (Skawahlook); Sq’ewqéyl (Skowkale), Ch’iyáqtel (Tzeachten); and Yeqwyeqwí:ws (Yakweakwioose).

The six communities reached Stage 5 in the treaty process as of last fall.

The constitutional document was created by SXTA leadership after years of public input, and is being brought back to members now for further input ahead of the November 2020 vote. It defines who they are, where they come from, and how they will be governed once they get out from under the Indian Act.

Six Stó:lō communities joined forced to become Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw. Members are indicating in a survey how they’d vote on the Constitution/Shxwelméxwelh if the vote were held now, according to SXTA. It is not the actual vote on treaty which will be coming up in November 2020.

“In the last two years, we’ve achieved a remarkable amount – a Land and Capital Transfer Agreement and a renewed approach to treaty negotiations that led us into Stage 5 of the BC Treaty Process on October 12, 2018,” according to SXTA updates.

The SXTA even has a hashtag for the consultation process: #SXTAHaveYourSay

Members of the six villages are weighing in about what they like about the constitution, and what would they change in this phase of the engagement process.

Deadline for input on the draft Stó:lō constitution is March 15, 2020.

For more details contact outreach@sxta.bc.ca, 604-824-3281 or @TheSXTA.

READ MORE: Milestone reached with Stage 5

READ MORE: Supreme Court ruling has implications for Sto:lo


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
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