The St’at’mic are part of The First Nations, their territory expands from North to Churn Creek and South to French Bar; northwest to the headwaters of Bridge River, east to the Big Slide, south to the island on Harrison Lake and west of the Fraser River to the headwaters of Lillooet River, Ryan River and Black Tusk. The St’at’mic culture is full of ancestral knowledge from the earth, passing this knowledge of the land from one generation to another, always keeping it alive. With this knowledge they are able to plan their way of life (hunting, fishing, harvesting) throughout their territory from the mountains to the rivers. Their main resource is fishery, along the Fraser River, which a very rich resource. They see themselves as the protectors and defenders of such a resource, as they are the only ones holding enough knowledge about the land. The resources are also sustaining them during winter season and giving influence when trading with neighboring nations. St’at’mic hold titles, rights and ownership of the land and its resources, and are in no ways an interest group or stakeholder.
This report is about the creation and finalizing process of a St’at’mic Plan in relation to their laws, forestry and other matters that are as important. This report is the St’at’mic preliminary draft plan, with management that include the St’at’mic vision and principles, mainly for the northern territory.
The St’at’mic vision is all about the respectful relation between the people and the land. This vision includes the respect of the cultural heritage and traditions ( passed from the older to younger generation) and the respect of nature (water, air and land). Therefor, St’at’mic people have authority on the land, they control and manage it, as they also use the resources of the land for sel-sustanable living. In the report there are 12 principles in relation to the cultural heritage of the people and the land. The main focus of these principles are the respect of the environment, the protection of the land and it’s inhabitants as well as the non-territorial protection of values such as language, stories and legend. St’at’mic are entitled to the land and what happens on it, as well the economical part of the management. Moreover, they acknowledge the importance of respect and dialogue with their neighbors.
The plan has been structured around knowledge that was handed down through time and was developed by the St’at’mic Land and Resource Authority ( SLRA). As well as planning and developing the laws for the plan, the SLRA are accountable to the St’at’mic chiefs and help to ensure the restoration of the land and resources. Their first focus is on what to leave behind and not what they can take from the land, in order to sustain the environment, wildlife and culture. Using scientific knowledge and St’at’mic cultural knowledge, they were able to use map based planning for the draft. The goal of the St’at’mic Land Use Plan is to provide for the needs of the four-legged people (deer, grizzly,..), the winged people (e.g. raptors), the root people (e.g. plants), as well the two-legged people ( humains).
As the St’at’mic have jurisdiction over their territories, the St’at’mic Land Use Plan will contain laws regarding those jurisdictions and they will be enforced through the St’at’mic Chiefs Council. Moreover, a third party residing on the land should have also a written authorization from the Chiefs council, even though they have government licenses. The SLRA have adopted the precautionary approach, to balance the uncertainties inherent in limited data. Therefore, by using this system the task of proof is placed on advocates of development or resources extractions. To regulate land use St’at’mic designations were put in place. Those designations include the protection of water quantity, quality and timing of flow. The cultural protection area, which consist of ancient residential areas, travel routes, sacred and spiritual areas and others. All the territory is considered cultural area. This regulates resources extraction, and destruction of the land that is a cultural protected area, third parties need to get written authorization from the Chiefs council. There is also the habitat protection areas; grizzly bears were focused on to determine the management of this plan as they require a large amount of land for their habitat, in which other wildlife species can live in. Therefore maintaining grizzlies habitat also helps other species to be protected. The deer protection area was also defined, as deer are of cultural significance, so their habitat (all season habitat) is of concern and is protected. The fish protection area was also delineated, including the Fraser River but also the smaller rivers and ponds under protection, as fish are part of St’at’mic culture and are a main food resource. General habitat areas are under full protection. Environmentally sensitive areas include areas with steep slopes, poor or thin soil or areas with difficulty regenerating. Finally, there are the community economic development areas and the restoration areas.
This report is only a preliminary draft plan for the St’at’mic Land Use management, so a few of the key areas still have to be developed and will appear on the final draft. The overall focus of this management plan is to keep intact the St’at’mic cultural heritage such as language, culture, story and legends, and through land and wildlife protection, as the St’at’mic are part of the land in which they have resided since time immemorial and the area contains many cultural and significant heritage values.
First Nations in Community section of:
- Evergreen Stewardship Plan for Lillooet Sub Region
- Evergreen Stewardship Plan for South Chilcotin Sub Region
- Source St’át’imc Preliminary Draft Land Use Plan Part 1. March 2004. Available at : http://www.firstnations.de/media/06-4-0-statimc.pdf [Accessed 03/2021].