This diagram measures the steps toward a treaty for the Stó:lō First Nation. Voting on a constitution represents a significant milestone toward a full treaty with the province and Canada. (Contributed Graphic/Stó:lō Xwexwílmexw Treaty Association)

This diagram measures the steps toward a treaty for the Stó:lō First Nation. Voting on a constitution represents a significant milestone toward a full treaty with the province and Canada. (Contributed Graphic/Stó:lō Xwexwílmexw Treaty Association)

Stó:lō constitution up for vote in November

The vote marks a major milestone toward self-governance

Six Stó:lo communities are moving ever closer toward self-government.

The Stó:lo communities, including Leq’á:mel and Sq’ewá:lxw near Agassiz and Hope, will vote on the ratification of the Shxwelméxwelh of the Stó:lo Xwexwílmexw Treaty Association; “Shxwelméxwelh” is a word chosen for their constitution that means “our Stó:lo way.” Stó:lo spokesperson Heather Ramsay said the November vote marks a critical milestone for the six First Nations communities who have been working toward completing a treaty with Canada and the province for 25 years.

“If we get a ‘yes’ vote on the Constitution, then we will be taking a big step towards no longer being governed by the Indian Act,” said Siyémches Chief Terry Horne in a statement released September 28.

The Indian Act of 1876 brought many crucial aspects of First Nations life and culture under Canadian federal government control, including land, resources and education.

Voting opens online on November 4; online voting is the safest option when it comes to fighting COVID-19. Ballots will be mailed out to all members starting this week with community voting stations opening on November 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Government House on Stó:lo Nation grounds, Tzeachten Social Health Building (6325 Matheson Road in Chilliwack) and Leq’á:mel Nation grounds. The results will be announced on November 15.

The Stó:lo Xwexwílmexw Treaty Association (SXTA) has opted for a step-by-step treaty negotiation process rather than negotating until they’ve reached a full and final agreement. Two years ago, they sign a memorandum of understanding to move into Stage 5 of the provincial treaty process.

RELATED: New rights-based approach to First Nations treaty-making rolled out

“Our treaty is like a living tree,” Chief Horne said. “It will adapt to changing circumstances, as policies evolve or new rights are established by the courts.”

The constitution going before the people next month as approved by SXTA leaders has been two years in the making. The document defines who they are, where they come from and how they will be governed once out from under the Indian Act. This Shxwelméxwelh (Constitution) would be the foundation of a new national government. The new national government would oversee such matters as health, social services and child and family services.

Should 50 per cent plus one per cent of a quorum of members vote yes, the six communities will re-assume the right to govern themselves. Following the adoption of the Shxwelméxwelh (Constitution), the six villages hope to adopt a self-government agreement with the province and Canada as part of the next steps toward a full treaty.

To see the Shxwelméxwelh (Constitution), visit the website The governance structure is described at You can also obtain a copy of the Shxwelméxwelh (Constitution) by emailing or calling 604-824-3281.

The six Stó:lō Xwexwílmexw communities consist of approximately 1,500 members throughout the Fraser Valley.

– With files from Jennifer Feinberg

agassizFirst NationsHarrison Hot Springshope

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This woman is one of two people the Agassiz RCMP are asking for assistance in identifying after a string of alleged thefts in Popkum. (Agassiz RCMP)
Agassiz RCMP ask for help to identify suspects in Popkum thefts

Images of the two suspects were captured on surveillance footage between Jan. 10 and 16

Only students who are attending in-person classes will be asked to take the Foundation Skills Assessment this year in the Fraser Cascade School District. (Unsplash)
Foundation Skills Assessment only for in-person learners: SD78

The provincial assessment will take place between Feb. 15 and March 12 for grades 4 and 7

Abbotsford’s Tradex has been transformed into a volleyball and basketball facility with Open Court. (Instagram photo)
Abbotsford’s Tradex transforms into sports facility

Open Court program hosting volleyball and basketball teams for practices and possibly games

Map of COVID-19 cases for Jan. 10 to 16 by local health area. (BCCDC)
Agassiz, Harrison COVID-19 cases heading back towards weekly normal

The area saw 10 new cases between Jan. 10 and 16, after a one week high of 19

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Most Read