On September 18, Chief Roger William of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, vice-chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, spoke in two sessions at the UBC First Nations Longhouse. For more than twenty years, Chief William and his community pursued court actions to protect Tsilhqot’in traditional lands from development initiatives, including the New Prosperity Mine project, that they considered unresponsive to community concerns. This summer, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a landmark decision favourable to Tsilhqot’in interests that is widely regarded to have significantly changed the landscape for land use and Aboriginal title in British Columbia. In his talks, Chief William spoke about his community’s involvement in this long process and also shared Tsilhqot’in legends, songs, and history.
The video records of Chief William’s addresses and some additional information are included below here.
First Session (42 minutes)
Second Session (87 minutes)
Chief William has served in a leadership role for his community for more than 25 years. He was the Plaintiff in the landmark Tsilhqot’in Title case noted above, which resulted in the Supreme Court of Canada’s first declaration of Aboriginal title.
Growing up speaking the Tsilhqot’in language and learning the songs and stories of his nation, Chief William is also a skilled drummer as well as a horseman whose rodeo and mountain-race wins are legendary in Tsilhqot’in territory.
Revised: November 19, 2014