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Sḵwx̱wú7mesh signing ceremony marks Nation and District protocol agreement

Leaders gather at Totem Hall for the signing of the Wa Iyı́̓m ta Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Strong) Protocol Agreement on Monday.

As Sḵwx̱wú7mesh ancestors looked down from framed photos around the room at Totem Hall on Monday, representatives of  Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) council and the District of Squamish, assembled witnesses, speakers and guests took part in the signing ceremony for the recently endorsed protocol agreement. 

The Wa Iyı́̓m ta Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Strong) Protocol Agreement offers a path forward for the leaderships of both the Nation and the District to further meaningful reconciliation efforts.

The agreement commits both parties to the following Sḵwx̱wú7mesh guiding principles:

• tkwáya7n iy nexwnew̓ítm – listen and engage 

• wa nexwniwnen chet ta nexwniw̓ tl’a Sḵwxw̱ú7mesh – follow the ways of the Squamish 

• tex̱wlám̓ ns7eyx̱ – genuinely care 

• chet wa telnexw tina tl'a snewiyelh tl'a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh – learn the advice of the Squamish 

• na wa nelhnilhtway ta úxwumixw – going through it together 

• we7us chet ta Sḵwx̱wú7mesh siyá̓m̓in – protect the rights and title of the Squamish 

On Tuesday, July 11, District council members unanimously endorsed the agreement.  

This protocol agreement lays the foundation for the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two governments. 

Nation spokesperson Khelsilem Rivers said that the agreement had its start more than 100 years ago when Sḵwx̱wú7mesh leaders were thinking of future generations as they formed the modern Squamish Nation through amalgamation

This month marks the 100th anniversary of that amalgamation.

"Think about what they will say about us 100 years from now, and what we did together for them," he told those assembled at Totem Hall. "I think about this protocol, and this relationship, and how both of our communities will come together to create relationships so that we can create that meaningful impact that is going to benefit all of our communities. We're so integrated in our Nation and the District of Squamish. The decisions that one government makes affect the community of the other, and the decisions we make as the leadership affect our neighbouring community. And so that's a huge opportunity for us to work together to achieve mutual shared benefit for all of our communities."

Mayor Armand Hurford said in his speech that the agreement was of "great importance" to the District and to the wider Squamish community in its work toward reconciliation. 

“This is our renewed commitment to work with Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, to honour your principles, to build and strengthen our relationship and to move forward together in a good positive way."

Similar protocol agreements are also being implemented between the Nation and the City of North Vancouver and the City of Vancouver. 

Video: Sxwíxwtn Wilson Williams, councillor and spokesperson, at the ceremony Monday.

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