Who are the St’át’imc people?
The St’át’imc are the original inhabitants of the territory which extends north to Churn Creek and to South French Bar; northwest to the headwaters of Bridge River; north and east toward Hat Creek Valley; east to the Big Slide; south to the island on Harrison Lake and west of the Fraser River to the headwaters of Lillooet River, Ryan River and Black Tusk.
The St’át’imc way of life is inseparably connected to the land. Our people use different locations throughout our territory of rivers, mountains and lakes, planning our trips with the best times to hunt and fish, harvest food and gather medicines. The lessons of living on the land are a large part of the inheritance passed on from St’át’imc Elders to our children and learning is experientially based in the seasonal changes of the landscape.
As holders of one of the richest fisheries along the Fraser River, the St’át’imc defend and control a rich resource that feeds our people, and keeps them strong throughout the winter. St’wan (dried salmon) is a valued staple for trade with our neighboring nations. The St’át’imc are stewards and keepers of this beautiful territory. St’át’imc people can think of no other better place to live and hope to keep this land vibrant for generations to come.
Ci wa lh kalth ti tmicwa (the land is ours). The St’át’imc hold Title, rights and responsibility to our territorial lands and resources. We are ucwalmicw (the people of the land). We are a nation, not an interest group. As proclaimed by our ancestors in the Declaration of the Lillooet Tribe, May 10, 1911: We claim that we are the rightful owners of our tribal territory and everything pertaining thereto. We have always lived in our territory; at no time have we ever deserted it or left it to others. The source of these rights is St’át’imc law.