Tŝilhqo’tin Nation Enacts Historic Nulh Ghah Dechen Ts’edilhtan (“Wildlife Law) for Declared Aboriginal Title Lands
Williams Lake, BC: The Tŝilhqot’in Nation has enacted theNulh Ghah Dechen Ts’edilhtan (“Wildlife Law”) to better regulate hunting on its declared Aboriginal title lands, and help ensure wildlife populations on these lands are conserved and protected for this generation and generations to come.
On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada declared Aboriginal title for the first time in Canadian history, in the homeland of the Tŝilhqot’in people, within the caretaker area of Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government – one of six communities that comprise the Tŝilhqot’in Nation. In that same case, the courts also declared that the Tŝilhqot’in hold proven Aboriginal rights to hunt, trap, and trade throughout the claim area. The unanimous judgment from the Supreme Court of Canada was the culmination of 25 years of litigation by the Tŝilhqot’in people.
On August 23, 1989, Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government enacted its first modern written law, the Nemiah Declaration, and the law was affirmed by Xeni Gwet’in and the Tŝilhqot’in Nationin 2015. The Nulh Ghah Dechen Ts’edilhtan law comes into force on August 23, 2019 – the 30th anniversary of the Nemiah Declaration. The law applies to hunting and other activities, except trapping, that may affect wildlife and habitat within the Nation’s declared Aboriginal title lands. In particular, the law regulates hunting by Tŝilhqot’in and non-Tŝilhqot’in persons. All persons are expected to familiarize themselves with the law, and ensure their compliance with the law while in the Tŝilhqot’in Nation’s declared Aboriginal title lands.
Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair, Tŝilhqot’in National Government:
“The Tŝilhqot’inNation continues to make history with this new law, which will apply within the Nation’s declared Aboriginal title lands. This is a ground-breaking accomplishment for the Nation as we work collectively to see our jurisdiction recognized throughout our territory. This law honours Tŝilhqot’in culture, and recognizes ourinherent law – law that our people have known and lived by for centuries. This law has taken a lot of time and effort; our people have been involved and consulted with throughout its creation. We commend Xeni for taking the lead on this issue, and we look forward to developing more laws that will help move our Nation forward.”
Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Jimmy Lulua, Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government:
“The Tŝilhqot’in and Xeni Gwet’in have always lived by ourdechen ts’edilhtan (“laws”) as taught to us by our ancestors. However, we are at a time in our history where it has become necessary to share our dechen ts’edilhtan on paper with each other as Tŝilhqot’in and with non-Tŝilhqot’inW.e are continuing to stand up our Tŝilhqot’in laws on our declared Aboriginal title lands. This is only the start. We will continue to develop more laws and take the necessary steps to implement our
laws on our declared Aboriginal title lands, our proven Aboriginal rights lands, and throughout our community caretaker areas.”
- Tŝilhqot’in Nation Nulh Ghah Dechen Ts’edilhtan (“Tŝilhqot’in Nation Wildlife Law”) – https://bit.ly/2HB2cLd
- Tŝilhqot’in Nation Hunting Order – https://bit.ly/30E5a9f
Tŝilhqot’in National Government