We, the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw have an inherent right to govern ourselves. We did for
10,000 years. We will again – and soon.
NStQ citizens and leaders past and present have chosen a Treaty with Canada and British Columbia as
the best path to transition out of the Indian Act and back to self-government.
And we have chosen to work together, four of the Secwepemc communities of the North, united in our
common goal of NStQ making decisions for NStQ.
Ours was and will be a government structure based on our Secwepemc culture, rooted in the land, in
the language, and in the respect we have for one another.
Indian bands were created by the Indian Act of 1876, replacing Indigenous forms of government.
Under the Indian Act, chief and council are elected by community members and designated the federal
government’s authority over band affairs such as education, on-reserve schools, administration of
housing, water and sewer services, roads and other services. Reserves remain the property of the
The chief, representing council, and therefore the Band, directs Band Administration who, in turn, is the
only person with the authority to direct band staff.
Bands must provide financial reports annually to the federal government.
The federal government has capped funding increases for Indigenous communities at two per cent per
year – a rate outstripped by population growth and inflation. In real terms, the funding pot grows
smaller every year.
Within NStQ, the four communities have chosen to join together in a regional level of government as
well – the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council. The Tribal Council is also home to the Northern Shuswap
Treaty Society. Both entities are governed by a Board of Directors made up of the four chiefs.
The NStQ Leadership Council, hosted monthly at NSTC, was formed to guide and provide oversight of
treaty-related decisions. All chiefs and council members are members of the Leadership Council, which
must have at least two representatives from each community to reach quorum and make decisions.
NStQ citizens and leadership have chosen a path forward with Shared Governance. Under this structure, each community will have authority over areas affecting the everyday lives of community members. This will include Housing, Child and Family Wellness programs, Infrastucture, local Economic Development, and Land Use on Treaty Settlement Lands owned by that community. There will also be a fifth level of government shared by all four communities. At this regional level will rest authority in areas where the four communities have common interests and where cooperation will result in cost savings or increased political clout on a provincial or national basis. While this Shared Governance structure is still taking shape, we anticipate that the regional government will be responsible for administering NStQ-wide programs. These may include certification of Aboriginal healers within NStQ territory, accreditation of Secwepemc language teachers within NStQ territory, NStQ elections, administration of citizenship, relations with other levels of government, common Stewardship issues, and joint economic development initiatives agreed to by the communities. Once NStQ reaches a Treaty agreement, citizens will vote on the agreement.