Shuswap National Tribal Chief Shane Gottfriedson wants a formal meeting with the Tsilhqot’in National Government.
“We want to sit down and talk and put our issues on the table to have a meaningful discussion between the two nations to try and work through things. That’s the approach I take as a community chief and as a tribal chief,” Gottfriedson says.
The move comes after the SNTC issued a press release July 10, criticizing the TNG for its attempt to encroach upon the traditional territory and make claims to the petroglyph rock that was repatriated to Secwepemc territory from the Museum of Vancouver in June.
“The action of the TNG in their false and misguided claims is an insult to our elders and leaders. We know for certain that the land that they claim is not their territory, but belongs to the Secwepemc people,” the press release stated.
Gottfriedson told the Tribune the SNTC has met with Tsilquot’in chiefs in the past and looks forward to meeting in the future.
“Roger William was the chief when we had discussions in 2004, 2005. The discussions were about working together and needing to find a way around the issues and have a common understanding. That’s what we need to do now,” Gottfriedson said.
Discussions about territorial boundaries need to take place between the Secwepemc and the TNG, not through the media, he added.
TNG tribal chair Joe Alphonse could not be reached for comment by press time.