Leaders and representatives from the Tŝilhqot’in Nation are taking to the world stage next week to continue to share their story, advocate for their Indigenous rights and for the rights of all Indigenous people at the eighth United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, taking place from Nov. 25 to 27 in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Our story is a global story. Our struggle is shared by Indigenous peoples across Canada and around the world,” stated Tl’esqox First Nation Chief Francis Laceese in a news release. Chief Laceese and Tŝideldel First Nation Chief Otis Guichon are both attending the forum.
“As Indigenous peoples, we all hold the freedom, the jurisdiction and the rights to care for our lands and waters and benefit from our homelands in the ways of our ancestors. It is important that the truth of Indigenous peoples around the world is heard. That is why we are attending the Forum on Business and Human Rights, because governments and business need to start recognizing our jurisdiction and our rights to free, prior informed consent or the conflicts with Indigenous peoples will continue.”
While in Geneva, the chiefs will share their history dating back in 1864/1865 when six Tŝilhqot’in War Chiefs met for peace talks, under a flag of truce and were deceived, wrongfully arrested and hanged.
“The execution of these six Tŝilhqot’in War Chiefs motivated the Tŝilhqot’in to seek justice for our people, and after 25 years in the Canadian court system, the Tŝilhqot’in Nation established Aboriginal title, for the first time in Canadian history, to a portion of the Tŝilhqot’in homeland. This decision is known as the Tŝilhqot’in Decision,” stated the news release.
“Despite this landmark victory, the Tŝilhqot’in are still compelled to fight every day to protect their way of life and their human rights as Indigenous peoples, including over a decade of court battles, regulatory hearings and peaceful actions to protect the sacred lands and waters at Teẑtan Biny from proposed mining activities.
The Tŝilhqot’in Nation chose to travel to Geneva to attend the Forum on Business and Human Rights to highlight the need for free, prior informed consent as a fundamental condition of business and to join Indigenous peoples around the world in calling for the implementation of the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples.