We are proud of our vast, beautiful territory. Our connection to the lands and waters runs deep, and we have never ceded our territory. It is our responsibility to act as stewards and guardians of our lands and waters in a balanced way. We have projects and businesses that work towards this balance, like Homalco Forestry LP, Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours and the Homalco-Taggares Hatchery. We are also working to map our territory and revitalize our connection to the lands and waters that sustained our ancestors.
The Xwémalhkwu or Homalco territory includes all of Bute Inlet and Homathco Ice Fields, extends west to Campbell River on Vancouver Island, south to Comox and north to Sayward, including the Discovery Islands and the Discovery Passage. It extends from Dent Island, slightly west of the mouth of Bute Inlet, to the vicinity of Raza Passage and Toba Inlet. Historically, there were many temporary camps for hunting, fishing and gathering. Our permanent winter villages were at Look-out point (Aaron rapids/Sonora Island), Mushkin Village on Sonora Island and Aupe at the mouth of Bute Inlet, which later became known as Church House.
Xwémalhkwu title and rights
The Xwémalhkwu People have stewarded and lived from our lands and waters since time immemorial. We have never given up our rights to the land or resources in any way.
Our Indigenous title and rights reflect our intimate and reciprocal relationship to the land and resources. Our ancestors have been sustained through this relationship, which is expressed through our language, laws, culture, economy, society, governance and spirituality. Xwémalhkwu asserts title over the unceded territory of our People and we exercise daily our Indigenous rights of jurisdiction and decision making.
Wellness and culture through strengthening connection to Homalco lands
We know that connecting our members to our territory is more than showing lines on a map and sharing photos or video. We must create opportunities for our members to be out on the lands and waters in the Homalco Traditional Territory. We have carried our several boat tours for members during the past 3 years and will continue to carry out these tours in the future.
It is so important to re-connect our elders and members who have not been home to Church House or back to Homalco Lands in years or even decades. For our members who have never been to the Homalco Territory, it is an opportunity to learn about where they come from. They can see the lands and waters of their ancestral home, hear the language spoken as they learn about traditional place names, and learn about cultural practices and Homalco history.
Lands and resources management
We have leadership and control over the stewardship of all resources coming from our land and waters. We require consent-based consultation for things like fisheries and forestry. It is important to settle these matters in order to rebuild the natural environment.
We recognize that we share the land and waters in our territory with neighbouring Nations [INSERT Shared Territories map from land use plan]. We do not claim to speak for our neighbours.
Homalco has worked hard over the past few years to capture and document our traditional knowledge of the land and waters. We actively share this knowledge with the community. [MAP]
Lands and resource stewardship
The Homalco Nation runs the Homalco Taggares salmon hatchery at the mouth of the Orford River in Bute Inlet. The hatchery can hatch and pond 3.5 million chum fry annually. We also run grizzly bear tours to the Orford River in late summer and fall when the bears come to the river to feed on spawning salmon. Read more about our fisheries and Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours here.
We also steward our forests and provide jobs and resources to our community through Homalco Forestry LP (HFLP). HFLP was established in 2011 to provide forest management and timber harvesting services within our territory. We provide many services, which you can read about here.
The development of a Homalco Environmental Management Plan and the Homalco Stewardship Plan will be carried in 2020-21 and 2021-22. These important documents will guide our work as managers and stewards of our lands, resources and waters. We will also be working towards the development of a Lands and Resource Guardians and Environmental Monitors.
Land Code and Governance
Homalco lands governed under the Homalco Land Code
Homalco lands are the eleven Homalco reserves, totalling 754 hectares, from Campbell River to the head of Bute Inlet. [MAP]
However, we reject the “postage stamp” approach to Indian reserves. While trying to assimilate Indigenous People, Canada put the needs of settlers first. The reserve allocation process in British Columbia was carried out under very different policy from the rest of Canada with the result of fewer and much smaller reserves incapable of supporting the people confined to them. This Indian Reserve system reflects a “minimal approach” by the Canadian government and common law now recognizes that it is not adequate. Through treaty and other reconciliation processes Homalco is negotiating for more livable communities with land that provides for social and cultural sustainability, on our unceded territory.
To learn more about the villages, fishing sites, and other sites that are significant to the Homalco People, please read the 2020 Homalco Land Use Plan Report.
Homalco Land Code
The Homalco Land Code was ratified in October 2019 and became effective on December 1, 2019. We are currently developing the Homalco Lands and Governance Department.
The Homalco Land Code gives us control of land management for Homalco lands (Homalco reserve lands). First Nations Peoples have the right to take control of their lands and resources. This would mean their lands and resources are no longer controlled by the Indian Act. This right is confirmed under the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management and enabled by the First Nations Land Management Act 1999 (FNLMA).
Homalco Lands and Governance Department
The Homalco Lands and Governance Department works to make sure that Homalco lands and resources are stewarded to maximize benefits for our citizens in a balanced way. The Department governs and manages Homalco Lands, provides stewardship of lands and resources within the Homalco Traditional Territory, administers lands governance policies and procedures, and implements laws enacted under the Homalco Land Code, implements the Homalco Land Use Plan and other plans such as the Homalco Emergency Plan.
Lands and resources referrals
The Lands and Governance Department handles all referrals (formally crown land referrals). The Department works to ensure that Homalco Aboriginal rights and title are acknowledged, respected and accommodated throughout our territory. The Department serves as the point of contact for development in the traditional territory and identifies partnership, procurement and meaningful employment opportunities for the Homalco Nation. To inquire about referrals, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lands and Governance Director
250-923-4979 ext. 0612
250-923-4979 ext. 0615