The Federal Government has eliminated treaty negotiation loans with the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw as part of the government’s promise to repair and create new relationships with the Indigenous people of Canada.
“The monies that would have gone into paying back loans can now go toward support for Indigenous children and families, education, housing and otherwise improving the lives of our community members. The importance of this measure can’t be overstated,” said Chief Helen Henderson of Tsq’ escen’ (Canim Lake).
The Canim Lake Band, along with the Canoe Creek, Williams Lake and Soda Creek-Deep Creep bands make up the NorthernSecwepemc te Qelmucw Nation.
According to a press release by the nation’s Treaty Group, First Nations in British Columba accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in debt since the modern-day treaty process in 1993.
The bands that make of the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw have more than $30 million in debt in treaty loans, which they had to borrow in order to negotiate back land, which courts have found were taken away illegally.
The NStQ Treaty Group also said in the release the loans would have perpetuated poverty in the four communities.