A totem pole carved for Tl’etinqox to give as a gift to the City of Williams Lake will not be going into Boitanio Park after all. Here the pole was presented in 2016 during the 40th Annual Elders Gathering held in Williams Lake. (LeRae Haynes/Williams Lake Tribune)

B.C. First Nation refuses totem pole gift from fellow nation

The chief of the Tl’etinqox community says the pole is being wrongly perceived as a territorial claim

A totem pole gift from members of a First Nation in B.C.’s central interior is being refused by the Williams Lake Indian Band because it’s being perceived as a claim to territory.

That’s according to Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tl’etinqox, a community that’s part of the Tsilhqot’in Nation. Alphonse said the totem pole was meant to strengthen the relationship between his community and the City of Williams Lake.

READ MORE: Totem pole unveiled at BC Elders gathering

“Gifting this totem pole was never meant to be about boundary issues, nor be a statement along territorial lines,” Alphonse said, adding he was disappointed. “If you go to Vancouver or any major city, there is First Nations art everywhere. In the Interior, it is almost non-existent.”

Alphonse said Tl’etinqox has had a long-standing gang issue and people always ask what his community is doing about it.

“We’ve taken a different approach than most. We want to focus on kids who are doing well and support them. If the totem pole is there in Williams Lake, kids can look up and be inspired that our culture is on display.”

Alphonse said he feels like he has failed, despite going to meetings with the Williams Lake Indian Band and the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council.

“The message to us was very clear that they don’t support the project and stressed it was Tl’etinqox staking their territory, but I told them we don’t deal with boundary issues from individual communities. We deal with those issues at the nation level.”

After being re-elected last week, Alphonse met with the band councillors at Tl’etinqox and they decided to come up with another use for the pole.

Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Willie Sellars, meanwhile, said his group will engage with its council and prepare a response to the Tsilhqot’in National Government.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Alberni Valley, West Coast First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Kitchen fire sends one to hospital in Port Alberni

Apartment block evacuated after sprinkler system was set off

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read