Chief Francis Laceese & Otis Guichon, and Peyal Laceese in Geneva Switzerland

Tsilhqot’in National Government

On Tuesday, the Tŝilhqot’in delegation in Geneva met with Ms. Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights. Chief Francis Laceese and Chief Otis Guichon shared the Tŝilhqot’in story of both the Title case and exoneration of our six War Chiefs. The Chiefs also communicated that all is not well for the Nation. Both Chiefs expressed the Nation’s growing concern regarding food security as natural disasters become more common in Tŝilhqot’in territory. They expressed their struggle with irresponsible mining and government mismanagement which has led to our people being in a constant state of crisis. The Deputy High Commissioner commended the Tŝilhqot’in for our resilience and strong leadership, especially when it came to protecting the sacred site of Teẑtan Biny (Fish Lake). Once again, both Chiefs welcomed the new international relationship that was formed at the meeting.

Later on Tuesday, the Tŝilhqot’in delegation hosted a Tŝilhqot’in side event at the United Nations in Geneva. Tŝilhqot’in Cultural Ambassador, Peyal Laceese performed a powerful drum song that started the event in a good way. Speakers included Chief Francis Laceese of Tl’esqox First Nation, Chief Otis Guichon of Tŝideldel First Nation, Ms. Tamara Mawhinney, Deputy Permanent Representative of Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN in Geneva and Sheri Meyerhoffer, Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise. The Chiefs shared a bit about the Tŝilhqot’in people and our journey to title. They shared the Nation’s on-going struggle to protect Teẑtan Biny (Fish Lake). The Tŝilhqot’in video “Standing Up for Younger Generations” was screened at the event , and the powerful messages by Tŝilhqot’in Chiefs and members in the film touched all the people in attendance. The Chiefs stated that the Nation had come to Geneva to make international connections, to seek allies against human rights violations and to inspire other Indigenous peoples to seek title and stand up for their rights. Tomorrow, will be the final day at the UN Business and Human Rights Forum and the Tŝilhqot’in delegation is looking forward to attending the final Indigenous session in the afternoon.

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