In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast, I had the privilege to engage in a fascinating conversation with Khelsilem, Chair person for Nexwsxwníw̓ntm ta Úxwumixw, of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Council of the Squamish Nation.)
The conversation was inspired by a series of tweets by Khelsilem, and centers on Indigenous governance. We talk about the perception and evolution of Indigenous governance, as well as important questions surrounding present-day legitimacy and authority in decision-making – particularly regarding jurisdiction and land use decision-making.
The notion that Indian Band Councils only have jurisdiction over Indian Reserves is an ideological narrative often used to delegitimize democratically elected councils of First Nations communities in favour of “hereditary” leadership structures.
— Khelsilem (@Khelsilem) October 6, 2022
Khelsilem addresses the profound disruption and tangling of Indigenous governance structure, jurisdiction, legitimacy, and authority driven by dehumanizing colonial policies. Drawing on specific examples, we also discuss the variable progress across BC Nations to untangle the consequences of these disruptions and how this has, and continues to affect, relationships with governments, industry, environmental organizations, and activists. Emphasis is placed on how misguided narratives have shaped these processes and beliefs.
HÍSW̱KE Khelsilem, for an insightful and rich conversation.