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431-00073 (Indigenous affairs)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English


We, the undersigned residents of Canada who support the Truth and Reconciliation of Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, draw the attention of the House to the following:

THAT, the Canadian government declared the Sinixt Tribal group extinct in 1956;

THAT, prior to this declaration the Sinixt had existed and were long recognized as an autonomous tribal group;

THAT, the Sinixt Peoples (also known as the Lakes Tribe, Lakes Salish, Arrow Lakes Indians and/or Arrow Lakes(s) Band in Canada and the United States of America) have never in fact ceased to exist as a tribal group;

THAT, the traditional/ancestral territory of the Sinixt in the Columbia Mountains, as surveyed and mapped repeatedly, lies from the peak of the Monashee Range in the west to the peak of the Purcell Range in the east, including the entire Selkirk Range; and from north of Revelstoke, BC., south to Kettle Falls, Washington, USA;

THAT, the Sinixt Territory remains unceded;

THAT, the Sinixt continue to uphold their cultural laws and protect the spiritual integrity of the land, the water and the environment for continued renewal of all life throughout the ancestral territory they have never abandoned;

THAT, the Sinixt Peoples assert that they are an aboriginal people of Canada within the meaning of Section 35 of the Constitutional Act, 1982;

THAT, the Truth and Reconciliation Report acknowledges that the aim of Canadian government policy was to "cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada";

THAT, past wrongs conducted against aboriginal people of Canada, which includes the Sinixt, must be reconciled;

THAT, the government is engaged in a treaty process that recognizes other tribal groups which are claiming Sinixt territory but excludes all the Sinixt Peoples.

THEREFORE, your Petitioners call upon Parliament to reverse the wrongful Declaration of Extinction of Sinixt (Sngaytskstx) Tribal Group and take immediate steps to recognize the Sinixt as an autonomous tribal group within their traditional/ancestral Canadian Territory.

Response by the Minister of Indigenous Services

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): PAM DAMOFF

The Minister of Indigenous Services would like to thank the petitioners for their petition regarding the Sinixt Peoples.

The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples in Canada, based on the recognition and implementation of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership.

The Arrow Lakes Indian Band was a recognized Indian Band in Canada until 1953, when the last registered member passed away. Although research was undertaken by the Department at the time, no remaining registered members were found. Given the result of the search, the Band essentially ceased to exist.

In order to be recognized as a band under the Indian Act,  the Group must submit an application that meets the requirements of the Department’s New Band/Band Amalgamation Policy. At this time, there is no application with the Department for the recognition of the Sinixt Peoples.A copy of the Department’s New Band/Band Amalgamation Policy and further information are available by contacting the Department’s Regional Office in British Columbia by telephone at 604-775-5100 (local) or 1-800-567-9604 (toll-free), by e-mail: or by postal mail:

Indigenous Services CanadaBritish Columbia Region1138 Melville Street, Suite 600Vancouver, BC  V6E 4S3

Presented to the House of Commons
Richard Cannings (South Okanagan—West Kootenay)
February 6, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00073)
Government response tabled
April 11, 2020
Photo - Richard Cannings
South Okanagan—West Kootenay
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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