Aboriginal community is not represented by small splinter group

Published on February 25, 2011

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

Vancouver — 

The Okanagan Nation Alliance and the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation say they are pleased with the decision by the British Columbia Supreme Court that the indigenous people of the Arrow Lakes area are not represented by a small splinter group.

Today’s ruling found that a small group of individuals, led by Marilyn James and Robert Campbell, members of the Colville Tribes, do not have standing as representatives of the descendants of the Lakes in a proceeding related to proposed logging at Perry Ridge in the Nelson area of British Columbia.

We are very pleased that the court did not give effect to any argument that our people are extinct,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. “Rather, the ruling simply focused on the inability of these specific individuals, who are part of our various communities and are represented by the Okanagan Nation Alliance and Colville, and the governments of our member communities, to declare themselves representatives of the Nation.”

“We welcome the official recognition by the Canadian legal system that a small number of individuals cannot represent the Nation in court,” Colville Chairman Michael O. Finley said. “It is the Colville and the ONA that collaborate to represent the large number of descendants of the people of the Arrow Lakes area living in Canada and the United States, and ensure that the rights and responsibilities inherited from our ancestors are protected in both countries.